Spore prints have been an integral, fun, and beautiful part of mycology for hundreds of years. Historically, they were used to help identify fungi species since the classification of fungi families were largely dependent on spore color.

The 19th-century Swedish mycologist, Elias Magnus Fries, is credited as the first to emphasize spore color as an identification feature.

Of course, today, we know that spore color alone isn’t enough to identify a particular mushroom species. 

For instance, psilocybe cubensis spore prints typically reveal dark, blackish-purple colors. But magic mushroom species aren’t the only genus with those kinds of colors. 

Nonetheless, spore prints are incredibly helpful. Under a microscope, the shape, surface texture, and patterns of how the spores fall are all apparent. These factors, along with a mushroom’s appearance, size, and location, are all crucial identification markers.

What better way to learn more about magic mushrooms like psilocybe cubensis than with a spore print

A spore print is essentially the unique “stamp” or “fingerprint” of a mushroom. It’s a collection of microscopic spores captured onto a medium like aluminum foil, paper, or another material.

Spore prints can be made into amazing works of art. They can be stored for later use and study, too. That said, we believe spore syringes are superior, especially as a storage method for microscopy research. We’ll explain why a bit later.

 

Mushrooms from spores

 

So, what’s the difference?

While a spore print is an imprint made with spores captured onto a surface, a spore syringe is a sealed vessel filled with millions of spores suspended in a sterile solution.

Let’s take a look at how you can make spore prints before we get into the benefits of spore syringes for researchers.

 

How to Make a Spore Print   

Whether you want to make your own mushroom spore sprint for art, storage, or research purposes, the process is relatively simple. You don’t need any special equipment or advanced experience, either.

All you need is a few tools and materials, as follows:

  • Sterile gloves
  • Sterilized scalpel or sharp craft knife
  • Clear varnish, acrylic spray, or contact paper 
  • A cotton ball or piece of paper towel, damp with sterile water
  • White, heavy-weight paper or another material such as aluminum foil 
  • A sterilized glass jar, bowl, or cup big enough to fit over the mushroom 

Once you’ve gone foraging in the wild to find some fresh, mature mushrooms that aren’t deteriorating, you’re all set to make your first mushroom spore print

 

mushroom spore sprint

 

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Prepare a clean working space where you can set everything up and leave your developing mushroom spore print undisturbed and safe. 
  2. With your gloves on, use the sterilized scalpel or craft knife to carefully remove the mushroom stem as close to the cap as possible.
  3. Next, place the cap with the gills facing downwards onto your piece of paper or other material. Remember, fungi species have varying spore colors. For instance, albino Penis Envy shrooms produce white spores, which won’t show up on a white background. In this case, use a black piece of paper instead.
  4. If your mushroom cap looks a little tired and dry, gently place the damp cotton ball or piece of paper towel on top to liven it up and keep it moist.
  5. Now, place your glass jar, bowl, or cup over the mushroom cap to lock in moisture and prevent the tiny spores from blowing away.
  6. Wait around 3—5 hours (in some cases up to 24 hours) before carefully removing the glass container, then the damp cotton ball, and finally, the mushroom cap. Be extra careful not to smudge or contaminate the spores during this step.
  7. Once completely dry, keep your mushroom spore print horizontal, lightly coating it with clear acrylic spray or varnish. This step is only required to preserve your spore print instead of using it to grow mushrooms. Clear contact paper works, too.

There you have it! Your very own mushroom spore print! You can make various works of art, build up your research collection, or simply enjoy making spore prints as a hobby.

 

Which is Better: Psilocybe Cubensis Spore Prints or Spore Syringes? 

There’s no denying that spore prints have research, identification, and even creative value. They’re amazing and, as you’ve seen, super easy to make. 

But spore syringes are valuable, too, only for different reasons.

If you’re wondering whether psilocybe cubensis spore prints or spore syringes are better for research purposes, here are a few things to consider:

Although spore prints are commonly used to store spores, they’re not as foolproof or secure as spore syringes. 

More often than not, the process of making and keeping a spore print can inadvertently expose the spores to harmful bacteria. This can happen no matter how careful you are or how clean your environment is.

It’s simply impossible to control the countless variable factors that go into making, storing, and using spore prints. Microscopic mites and dangerous bacteria are typical culprits of ruining spore prints in storage.  

Conversely, spore syringes like the ones you’ll find at our online store are sealed in a sterile vessel. They protect the millions of spores contained inside from any external factors like bacteria, microscopic insects, and temperature changes.  

Spore syringes are much easier to handle in a lab environment, too. You can dispense spores directly onto your slides more accurately, without wastage, and with less chance of contamination than spore prints

Ultimately, though, it’s a matter of personal preference. If you haven’t already, why not try psilocybe cubensis spore syringes and see the benefits for yourself?

Happy researching!

The mushroom spores available on our site are intended for microscopy and taxonomy purposes only. We do not promote the act of cultivating magic mushrooms at home.