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The hymenium is the layer of tissue on the hymenophore of a fungal fruiting body, where cells develop into basidia or asci. These produce spores.

The position of the hymenium is traditionally the first characteristic used in the classification and identification of different mushrooms. Below are some examples of the diverse types which exist amongst the macroscopic Basidiomycota and Ascomycota phyla.

  • In agarics, the hymenium is on the vertical faces of the gills.
  • In boletes, it is in a spongy mass of downward-pointing tubes.
  • In puffballs, it is internal; on the inside.
  • In stinkhorns, it develops internally and then is exposed in the form of a foul-smelling gel.
  • In cup fungi, it is on the concave surface of the cup.
  • In teeth fungi, it grows on the outside of tooth-like spines.



  • Régis Courtecuisse, Bernard Duhem : Guide des champignons de France et d'Europe (Delachaux & Niestlé, 1994–2000). ISBN 2-603-00953-2

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