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Difference Between Paraphyses And Basidium: Things To Know

If you are trying to understand the reproduction in fungi, firstly, you need to differentiate between Paraphyses and Basidium.

Generally, Paraphyses and Basidium are cells supporting reproductive organs that possess similarities in shape, structure, and functions. However, there are some differences between them, such as in structure, function, and size.
Go through the entire article to know more about the differences and similarities between Paraphyses and Basidium.

Paraphyses And Basidium: Similarities

Paraphyses and Basidium are both sterile cells supporting the reproductive organs of some fungal groups, especially Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. 

Paraphyses vs Basidium
Besides spore dispersal, paraphyses perform other functions, such as the production of nectar and determining the color of hymenium.

Although they both perform different functions, there are some similarities between them.

Here is a list of similarities between Paraphyses and Basidium.

  • Location: Both of them are present in the Hymenium, which is a fertile and spore-bearing part of fungi.
  • Structure: Paraphyses and Basidium both are extensive structures emerging from the hymenium.
  • Shape: Both are in the shape of a club, broader at the base and narrow at the tip.
  • Function: Both of them contribute to the process of supporting the spore-bearing cells and spore dispersal.
  • Additionally, these both perform in the sexual reproduction of fungi.

Paraphyses And Basidium: Differences

Although Paraphyses and Basidium are similar structures arising from the Hymenium, they differ in several ways when you look at them minutely.


  • Paraphyses are sterile and non-reproductive cells that are not directly involved in the production of spores. Furthermore, their function is to provide structural support to the spore-bearing cells.
  • Basidia are directly handed out in the reproduction and production of spores. Basidial cells undergo meiosis and produce haploid cells.


  • Paraphyses are elongated and slender structures emerging from Hymenium. They twist with the other structures around them.
  • However, Basidia are in the shape of clubs that support the production of basidiospores.

Spore Production

  • Paraphyses only support the spore-bearing cells and do not directly participate in spore production.
  • In contrast, Basidial cells divide meiotically and produce haploid cells, called Basidiospores, that are the main reproductive bodies in fungi.

Presence in Fungi

  • Paraphyses are found in fungal groups Basidiomycota and Ascomycota.
  • Basidia are only present in Basidiomycota.


  • Paraphyses are tinier and less visible than Basidia and are cylindrical or branching structures.
  • Basidia are larger and more conspicuous than Paraphyses.

From Editorial Team


Paraphyses are mostly present in the mushrooms like Agaricus bisporus, Amanita muscaria, Boletus edulis, and Russula spp.

Similarly, Basidia exist in Coprinus comatus, Laccaria spp., Hypholoma spp., and Psilocybe spp.