Studying Mushrooms > Using a Microscope > The Gill Tissue


Using a Microscope: The Gill Tissue

by Michael Kuo

The way the cells are aligned within the gill tissue can be an important taxonomic character--for example, in Amanita or the Waxy Caps. Use the sectioning method described and illustrated in Creating a Section to Study, but take special care to slice the thinnest section you possibly can, since gill tissue is hard to see clearly with thicker sections.

Three basic types of gill tissue alignment are recognized by mycologists. Interwoven tissue consists of cells that are intricately twisted together in random patterns. In parallel tissue the cells are lined up nicely, side by side. In divergent tissue the cells start out sort of "parallel-ish" near the center of the gill, but then bend outwards toward the gill's edge. The illustration below features parallel tissue on the left half of the gill, and divergent tissue on the right half (interwoven tissue is not illustrated).

Parallel and divergent gill tissue

Better illustrations can be found in Hesler and Smith's 1963 monograph, North American Species of Hygrophorus, which can be found online; see pages 21 and 23.

Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2006, February). Using a microscope: The gill tissue. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site:

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