Basidium Fungi Classification Kingdom- Fungi Division- Basidiomycota Division Description: The basidiomycetes are the most conspicuous subdivision of the true fungi, containing only 37% of the known fungal species but the vast majority of macroscopic members.  In addition to mushroom-producing species, the clade also includes the rusts, smuts, jelly fungi, and a variety of yeasts.  These fungi can be found on all continents in virtually all terrestrial habitats, as well as both freshwater and marine aquatic ecosystems.  Many basidiomyctes obtain nutrients by decomposing dead organic matter, while others exist in parasitic or mutualistic association with plants, animals, and even other fungi.  Members vary widely in morphological characteristics; the subdivision contains both unicellular and multicellular members as well as both sexual and asexual species, and grow in a wide variety of conditions.  The defining characteristics of the Basidiomycota include the production of spore-bearing basidia and a relatively long-lasting dikaryon state (in species reproducing sexually), and the presence of hyphal clamp connections.   In species posessing them, each basidia produces four spores suspended on the tip of tiny stalks called sterigmata.  Spore dispersal usually occurs via wind, but water, transport by animals, and even forcible projectile discharge are utilized by some members. Basidiomycete Subdivisions Included on this Website: Hymenomycotina -  This subdivision contains almost 70% of the known species of Basidiomycota, about 98% of which are in the class Homobasidiomycetes that includes the bracket fungi, puffballs, and basidiomycete mushrooms.  The remainder of the subdivision consists of jelly fungi and yeast species.  Members are highly variable in macroscopic and microscopic features but are unified by the presence of dolipore septa flanked by parthenosomes.
Rene Chelune
last updated 1 July 2008

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