A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 


  • Achlorophyllous: lacking chlorophyll.
  • Aerobic:  conditions with oxygen.
  • Amoeba:  unicellular trophic stage of slime moulds.
  • Amorphous: not having a crystalline structure, i.e. having an unordered arrangement of molecules.
  • Anaerobic:  conditions without oxygen.
  • Arbuscles: finely branched hyphae produced by endomycorrhizas, which can grow both inter- and intracellularly with regard to root cortical cells. The site of nutrient exchange between plant and fungus.
  • Aromatic: an aromatic compound contains at least one benzene ring.
  • Arthrospore:  a spore resulting from the fragmentation of a hypha.
  • Ascome: a spore producing body of the Ascomycota.
  • Ascospore:  a meiospore borne in an ascus.
  • Ascus:  a cell generally carrying a number of ascospores (typically eight) formed by free-cell formation, characteristic of Ascomycota.
  • Aseptate: having no crosswalls (c.f. septate).
  • Asexual:  reproduction not involving meiosis.


  • Basidiospore:  a meiospore borne on the outside of a basidium.
  • Basidium:  structure produced by basidiomycetes on which basidiospore formation occurs.
  • Benzene: a hexagonal ring of carbons with alternating single and double bonds.
  • Binding hyphae:  thick walled, typically aseptate,  highly branched vegetative hyphae.
  • Bioremediation: application of biological processes to treatment of pollution.
  • Biotrophic: requiring a living host cell to feed on, growing on another organism, in intimate association with its cytoplasm.


  • Character:  variable feature of a given taxon.
  • Chelate: an inorganic chemical ring complex which has a metal ion enclosed.
  • Chlamydospore: an asexual one-celled spore.
  • Chytrid:  general term used to describe a member of the phylum Chytridomycota.
  • Clamp connection:  a bridge-like hyphal connection involved in maintaining the dikaryotic condition in Basidiomycota.
  • Colony:  coherent mycelium or mass of cells, like yeast cells, of one origin.


  • Deuteromycetes:  fungi that can only reproduce asexually.
  • Dikaryon:  a pair of closely associated, sexually compatible nuclei, may or may not be derived from a different parent hypha or cell.
  • Dispersal:  transport of spores to other sites.


  • Ectendomycorrhiza: mycorrhiza showing characteristics of both ecto- and endo- mycorrhizas.
  • Ectomycorrhiza: mycorrhizas with hyphae that do not penetrate cells.
  • Endomycorrhiza:  mycorrhiza in which the fungal hyphae penetrate cell walls of host plant. 
  • Endophyte:  a fungus living within plants, often without causing visible symptoms. 
  • Epigeous: growing on the surface.


  • Facultative: capable of but not restricted to a function. Facultative symbionts: plants or fungi able to form mycorrhizas, but also capable of completing their life cycles without forming mycorrhizas.
  • Fission:  cytoplasmic division of a cell to form two cells, a form of asexual reproduction.
  • Flagellum:  hair-like structure with internal microtubules, surrounded by plasma membrane, used for cell movement.
  • Fragmentation:  segmentation of a thallus into a number of fragments each capable of growing into a new individual, a form of asexual reproduction.
  • Free radical: an atom or group of atoms which have an unpaired electron, making it extremely unstable and liable therefore to undergo further reactions.
  • Fruiting body:  any complex fungal structure that contains or bears spores.


  • Gamete:  differentiated sex cell or nucleus that fuses with another during sexual reproduction.
  • Genus:  taxonomic rank that includes one or more species.


  • Hartig net: the network of hyphae found intercellularly between root cortical cells. Formed by ectomycorrhizas, and the site of nutrient exchange.
  • Heterogametes:  male and female gametes that are morphologically distinguishable.
  • Homologous character:  attribute that has common evolutionary history.
  • Host:  a living organism harbouring a symbiont.
  • Hydroxyl: having the group OH in the compound.
  • Hypha: the tubular cell growing at one end, which forms a tubular filament, where enzymes are produced for digestion. Many hyphae make a mycelium.
  • Hypogeous: produced lower down, in the earth, having subterranean spores.


  • Imperfect state:  asexual state of a fungus, also known as anamorph in a life cycle.
  • Ingroup:  a group of taxa generally considered to be monophyletic.



  • Karyogamy:  fusion of two nuclei.


  • Lichen:  mutualistic combination of alga and fungus, closely integrated so it appears to be an individual.


  • Medium:  substrate of balanced chemical composition used for growing microorganisms.
  • Meiospore:  a spore formed after meiosis
  • Meiosporangium:  a sporangium in which meiosis occurs (reference to certain chytrids).
  • Mushroom:  fleshy, sometimes tough, umbrella like basidiome of certain Basidiomycota.
  • Mutualism: a symbiotic relationship in which both or all partners benefit from the association, i.e. their fitness is increased.
  • Mycelium:  the collective term for hyphae, (pl. = mycelia).
  • Mycology:  study of fungi.
  • Mycorrhiza: mutualistic relationship between plant root and fungal mycelium. (pl. = mycorrhizas).
  • Mycosis: fungal infection of an animal.
  • Mycotoxin: toxin produced by a fungus.


  • Necrotrophic:  growing by first killing the host organism or mycelium.


  • Obligate symbiont/biotroph: plants or fungi not able to complete their life cycles without forming mycorrhizas.
  • Organopollutant: any carbon-containing compound that is toxic in the environment.
  • Outgroup:  one or more taxa considered to be outside the monophyletic group of interest.


  • Paraphyletic group:  a group in which some descendants are not included.
  • Perfect state:  sexual state of a fungus, also known as the teleomorph in a life cycle.
  • Phenol: any hydroxyl derivative of a hydrocarbon.
  • Plasmodium:  a naked, multinucleate mass of protoplasm that moves and feeds in an amoeboid fashion.
  • Polyphyletic:  not sharing a common ancestor.
  • Protocorm: an orchid seed that has germinated, following fungal infection.



  • Recalcitrant: a compound that resists biodegradation.
  • Redox reactions/potential: an oxidising or reducing reaction that involves either loss or gain of electrons.
  • Resource:  material external to the fungus that can be used for growth.
  • Rhizoid:  a short, thin branch of thallus, superficially resembling a root, but a single cell and usually lacking a nucleus.
  • Rhizomorph: a thick strand of somatic hyphae, in which the hyphae cooperate, with the whole mass behaving as an organised, root-like, unit.
  • Rust fungus:  fungus belonging to the Uredinales.


  • Saprobe: organism that utilises dead organic material for food.
  • Septate:  with more or less regularly occurring cross-walls.
  • Septum:  a cross-wall in a hypha that develops centripetally.
  • Slime mould:  common term for members of Dictyosteliomycota, Acrasiomycota, Plasmodiophoromycota and Myxomycota.
  • Smut fungi:  fungus belonging to the Ustilaginomycetes. 
  • Species: group of closely related individuals, resembling one another in certain inherited characteristics.
  • Spermatium:  non-motile, uninucleate, spore-like male structure that empties its contents into a receptive female structure during plasmogamy (similar to a gamete).
  • Spore:  a minute propagating unit.
  • Sporocarp: general term for spore-bearing organ or fruit body.
  • Substrate:  any substance or material from which a fungus can obtain nutrients.
  • Symbiosis:  intimate, mutualistic relationship between two or more individuals of different species.


  • Thallus:  relatively simple plant body devoid of stems, leaves and roots. In fungi, the somatic phase.
  • Toadstool:  a member of the Agaricales or Boletales with an inedible fruiting body.
  • Truffles: common name for the hypogeous ascomes of members of the genus Tuber.


  • Uredospore:  dikaryotic spore of rust fungi produced in the second host and capable of reinfecting it. 


  • Vegetative:  assimilative phase in fungi, structure or function as distinguished from the reproductive.
  • Vesicles: swollen lipid filled bodies produced in plant root cells by most, but not all endomycorrhizas, used for storage.


  • White rot:  fungal decay of wood in which both cellulose and lignin are broken down. 


  • Xenobiotic: any compound that is man-made and not found naturally in the environment.


  • Yeast:  single-celled fungus that reproduces by budding or fission.


  • Zoospores:  a motile, asexually produced spore.
  • Zygote:  a diploid cell resulting from the union of two haploid cells.

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Updated December 15, 2016