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Spores: A How to Guide

Written by ITW

July 15, 2021

Interested in working with psychedelic mushroom spores? Here’s a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about mushroom spores; from how to store spores to how to view them under a microscope.

magic mushroom spores under a microscope

What are spores?

Spores are the tiny reproductive cells of the fungi kingdom that serve a similar purpose to seeds in the plant world. Mushroom spores are microscopic single-cells that require a microscope to view in detail. However, mushrooms produce billions of spores which can be seen with the naked eye when accumulated together.

magic mushroom spores under a microscope

How to store spores

It is important to properly store your mushroom spores to maintain their integrity over time. The factors that affect spore longevity include exposure to oxygen, heat, and light. So it is recommended that you store your spores in an airtight container inside a dark drawer at room temperature. Well stored spores have been known to be viable after 30+ years of storage!

magic mushroom spores under a microscope

Spore Characteristics

Spores will vary in their size, shape, and color depending on the species of mushroom. Spore traits can even vary between different varieties of the same species. For example, P. cubensis spores are typically a dark purple/black but can also be rusty brown, gold and clear. We recommend viewing a wide variety of mushroom spores to be able to see all the different variations! 

Spore Packaging

Psychedelic mushroom spores are sold in three standard types of packaging; spore prints, spore syringes, and spore swabs. The type of packaging used is often determined by the type of mushroom that the spores come from. When purchasing spores from a trusted vendor, like us at Inoculate The World, you can be sure to receive high quality spores regardless of the packaging type. However, each of the three packaging types come with their own pros and cons so we’ll break them down for you.

magic mushroom spores under a microscope

Spore Print

A spore print is made by removing the cap of a mushroom from the stipe (stem) and placing it gill side down on a sterile surface.  The cap is then left covered for around 24 hours to drop its spores on the sterile surface. Spore prints are often taken on aluminum foil or mylar to preserve the spores but can also be made on glass sides to make microscope viewing easier. 

Spores prints will typically vary in size, shape, and color depending on the type of mushroom that produced the spores. Spore prints contain so many spores that a print as small as a dime contains millions of individual spores. On average, a single print will contain enough spores to make anywhere from 5 to 100 10ml spore syringes!

Pros: Most cost effective medium for spores as you get the most spores for your money. 

Cons: Not as easy for beginners to use as spore syringes.

Cubensis Spore Syringes

Spore Syringe

Spore syringes are made by scraping the spores from a spore print into a sterile aqueous solution, commonly distilled water. The liquid solution is then mixed thoroughly to ensure an even distribution of spores throughout the distilled water. The syringes are then filled with the spore solution and caped off until they are ready to be used. The whole process is typically done in a sterile environment in front of a laminar flow hood. Spore syringes from Inoculate The World contain 10ml of solution and use a 18 gauge needle to easily apply the spores to your microscope slide.

Pros: Easy to work with for both beginners and experts alike.

Cons: Spore syringes have the lowest storage shelf life of the three spore mediums.

magic mushroom spore swab

Spore Swab

Spore swabs are made by running a sterile cotton swab upside the gills of the mushroom cap to collect the valued spores. With certain strains having a spore drop percentage of roughly 0-5%, these strains are near impossible to get spore prints from. For these reasons, some mushroom species are only available in spore swab form.

Pros: Spore swabs have a particularly long shelf life, similar to spore prints.

Cons: It is slightly more difficult to apply spores to a glass slide with a spore swab than with a spore syringe or spore print.

magic mushroom spores under a microscope

How to view spores under a microscope

  1. Prepare your microscope and accessories in a clean environment to avoid cross contamination.
  2. Apply your spores to a clean slide. If using a spore syringe, shake the syringe vigorously to distribute the spores throughout the solution before applying a drop to the glass slide. If using a spore print or spore swab, use a clean tool to scrap off some spores onto the glass slide. Once the spores are on the slide, place a cover-slip on top of the spores to protect them while viewing.
  3. Place the glass slide with spores onto your microscope stage and adjust as necessary to bring the view into focus. Take photos, measure spore size, and most of all – have fun! 

Where you go for spores.

Explore it, learn something new. And where it’s legal, order it.

Costa Rica (Arenal Volcano) Spore Print

A unique Cubensis first collected by LJ on the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. These are the F2 grow by BAS. Expect great and unique variation from these. Third photo is of the original specimen collected from the south side of the volcano. These are truly a winner. Expect Umbonate caps, consistent flushes and a new strain for your library.

Tosahatchee Spore Print

Tosahatchee is a wild Psilocybe Cubensis originally collected by InoculateTheWest in the cattle fields of Central Florida. It's name Tosahatchee comes from the region it was collected. These spores come from the first domesticated grow of the wild specimen. Basidium Equilibrium found these to be an extremely rewardgin strain to work, and the potency to be beyond any Cubensis he's experienced (MORE POTENT THAN APE).  We are grateful and proud to present to you, Psilocybe Cubensis Tosahatchee. 

Golden Halo Spore Print

Ps. Cubensis that produces gold pigmented spores. One of the most sought after strains on the market, available to you now. 

Ganoderma Oregonense "Reishi" Slant

A wild culture of Ganoderma Oregonense, commonly known as "reishi". Reishi is recognized for both its unique growth variations as well as its medicinal benefits. 

PE7 Spore Swab

PE7 is an isolation of Penis Envy that was kept in circulation due to its unique growth (flower caps) and intense potency. One-of-a-kind PE.

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