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One of the four major classes of fungi, characterized by a spore-bearing organ (basidium), usually a single clavate cell, which bears basidiospores after karyogamy and meiosis. The class comprises the smuts, rusts, mushrooms, and puffballs. Excluding mycotoxins, there is only one human pathogen, the basidiomycetous stage of Cryptococcus neoformans.
[Mod. L. basidium, dim. of G. basis, base, + mykēs (mykēt), fungus]
basidiomycetesA class of true fungi—which includes mushrooms, puffballs, earth stars, stinkhorns, bracket fungi, rust, smuts, jelly fungi, bird’s-nest fungi—which produce spores at the tips of swollen hyphae that are likened to clubs.
In one system of taxonomy, a class of the true fungi that contains mushrooms, bracket fungi, the plant parasites rusts and smuts, and the human parasite Cryptococcus. This class is equivalent to the phylum Basidiomycotina in another system of taxonomy. Mushroom toxins may be lethal to humans if ingested, and spores of these fungi may cause allergic asthma.