The Basidiomycota Division of the Fungi Kingdom contains mushrooms, jelly fungi, polypores, tooth fungi, crust fungi, chanterelles, coral fungi, and puffballs. Most of the fungi you would find in a yard, forest, or field is in the Basidiomycota Division. These fungi have fleshy bodies and many of them are edible. Others are very poisonous and will make humans sick or even kill them. All of these fungi make spores which spread and grow new fungi. One thing to remember is that mushrooms, puffballs, etc. are only a part of the fungus. The main body of a fungus is a network of tiny threads, called mycelia, which are usually hidden under tree bark, dead leaves, or soil. The part of the fungus that you see is much like a flower on a larger plant. Sometimes mycelia can even spread for miles.
The Basidiomycota Division contains several Classes, some of which are listed below:
Hymenomycetes Class: All of the fungi in this Class produce spores from an exposed surface which has tiny structures called "basidia." Basidia make spores which are spread by wind, water, or animals to new locations. The Hymenomcetes Class includes gilled mushrooms, boletes, polypores, chanterelles, coral fungi, crust fungi, and tooth fungi.
Gasteromycetes Class: Sometimes called "Stomach Fungi," this Class includes puffballs, earthstars, stinkhorns, and bird's-nest fungi. These fungi make spores inside their bodies, rather than outside. Most of them need help to spread their spores, such as an animal stepping on it or heavy rain to break through the fungus's body.
Heterobasidiomycetes Class: Also called "Jelly Fungi," these fungi often look like jelly. They can appear bloblike, brainlike, earlike, or leaflike. Colors range from yellow to orange to red to black. Some you can even see through!
To learn more about each Class, click the links below: