In the higher Fungi nuclear fusions take place in basidia or asci which involve the union of two (fig.
In young asci a similar fusion of two nuclei occurs, and also in basidia, in each case the nucleus of the ascus or of the basidium resulting from the fusion subsequently giving rise by division to the nuclei of the ascospores and basidiospores respectively.
Among the simplest cases are the sheet-like aggregates of sporogenous hyphae in Puccinia, Uromyces, &c., or of basidia in Exobasidium, Corticium, &c., or of asci in Exoascus, Ascocorticium, &c. In the former, where the layer is small, it is often termed a sorus, but where, as in the latter, the sporogenous layer is extensive, and spread out more or less sheet-like on the supporting tissues, it is more frequently termed a hymenium.
Other series of modifications arise in which the tissues corresponding to the stroma invest the sporogenous hyphal ends, and thus enclose the spores, asci, basidia, &c., in a cavity.
Most of Basidiomycetes are characterized by the large sporophore on which the basidia with its basidiospores are borne.
Idium), a reduced fertilization which denotes their derivation, through the Uredineae, from more typically sexual forms. No one has yet t.-ade out in any form the exact way in which the association of nuclei tr -.-es place in the group. The mycelium is always found to contain conjugate nuclei before the formation of basidia, but the point at which the conjugate condition arises seems very variable.
P. Petersii has a transversely divided basidium as in Auriculariaceae, but the basidia are surrounded with a peridium-like sheath.
The Tremellinaceae are characterized by the possession of basidia which are divided by two vertical walls at right angles to one another.
In this by far the larger division of the Basidiomycetes the basidia are undivided and the four basidiospores are borne on short sterigmata nearly always at the apex of the basidium.
Exobasidium) the basidia are borne directly on the ordinary mycelium, but in the majority of cases the basidia are found developed in layers (hymenium) on special sporophores of characteristic form in the various groups.