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Do Mushrooms Really Grow on Mushrooms? Expert Answer!

Have you seen mushrooms grow on top of other mushrooms? Fungi growing on top of another fungus may sound interesting and fabled, but the reason behind this uncommon phenomenon is not so intriguing after you learn about it!
Generally, mushrooms naturally grow on mushrooms either as parasites or saprophytes. Some mushrooms grow on other mushrooms, such as Lactarius and Russula spp. However, for commercial production, provide them with favorable environmental conditions.
If you want to learn how mushrooms can harm their own kin, continue learning from the article!

Where Do Mushrooms Grow Best?

Mushrooms flourish best in places where there is a huge amount of dead and decayed organic matter is present.

Moreover, mushrooms are saprophytic organisms that love dead matter the most.

Mushrooms growing on mushrooms
Mycoparasites are sometimes used as the biological control agents of harmful fungi.

There are some places where the mushrooms are prevalent, which are below.

  • Forests: Forests are rich in diversity and rich in plenty of organic matter. So, they are the perfect place for the growth of mushrooms.
  • Woodlands: Many mushrooms first cause rots in the woods and then feed on them.
  • Meadows: A meadow is a piece of grassland that is full of vegetation. Those grasses decay and provide the best substrate for mushrooms to grow.

Moreover, mushrooms are also grown for commercial purposes in various substrates, such as compost, sawdust, logs, and straw.

People grow edible mushrooms on these substrates and grow them commercially as a source of income.

However, the selection of substrates depends on a variety of mushrooms and your personal preferences.

How Does Mushroom Grow Naturally?

Mushrooms naturally grow in a wide range of environments and ecological conditions.

However, here are some processes by which the natural growth of mushrooms takes place.

  • Spore dispersal: Mushrooms increase their populations through the spores, which are tiny reproductive cells. Moreover, spore dispersal takes place by means of wind, water, or animals.
  • Germination of spores: After spores transfer to new locations, they germinate to produce small thread-like structures, i.e. mycelium.
  • Mycelial growth: Mycelia are root-like structures that get into a fruiting body of mushrooms. Mycelia bears penetrating organs like haustoria, with the help of which they draw nutrients from decayed matter.
  • Formation of fruiting body: The mycelium matures and develops into a fruiting body composed of cap, stipe, and rhizoids.
Most mushrooms hold a beneficial compound i.e. Beta glucans, that is known to have various health benefits such as anticancer, antioxidant, and hepatoprotective effects.

Do Mushrooms Grow On Mushrooms?

Yes, mushrooms do grow on mushrooms, but under specific conditions.

Being the saprophytic organism, mushrooms find the dead mushrooms and feed on them. 

Furthermore, there is another mechanism by which mushrooms thrive on mushrooms. 

Mushrooms at first cause rots on other mushrooms, kill them, and feed on them.

This phenomenon of mushrooms feeding on other living mushrooms is called mycoparasitism, where one fungus is a parasite on another fungus.

However, there are many benefits of mycoparasitism, as the useful fungi can inhibit the growth of harmful fungi.

Here are some examples of mushrooms growing on other mushrooms.

  • Hypomyces chrysospermus: These mycoparasites rely on other mushrooms for food and nutrients.
  • Russula spp.: These mushrooms are usually known as wood rotting mushrooms, which also grow on other mushrooms.
  • Lactarius spp.: These are mycoparasites and live on other mushrooms by completely decomposing them.

From Editorial Team


The speed of mushrooms growing on other mushrooms depends on various external factors, such as sunlight, temperature, and the type of host they rely on.

However, you can get mushrooms within 7-14 days after inoculating in the substrate.