How to and how not to take a spore print
A big brown husky mushroom was growing in my backyard, and my boyfriend Corey decided to take a spore print. A spore print is one of the most reliable ways to identity a mushroom. When mushrooms open their gills, they release millions upon billions of seed-like spores. The spores are so tiny that we cannot perceive them as they are released into the air, but if you lay a mushroom on a clean piece of paper and cover it, you can accumulate the spores as they fall.
I really like the way this print became a smoky, moody piece. It won’t be very useful in identifying the mushroom, but it does offers a good example of why to take a spore print (they look beautiful!) and what not to do if you want to use the print for mushroom identification: Don’t jostle the mushroom or paper, and make sure it’s covered so that wind cannot pass through and blow the spores about.