A spore print is a way to store the spores released by a mushroom when it reaches full maturity. It consists of a clean piece of paper of different types (wax paper, cardboard, index card, aluminum foil or photo paper, microscope slide, etc.). The spores will fall from a mushroom onto the paper.
To collect them in this form, remove the cap from the stem and place it on the paper. The cap will drop a pattern of spores during the next 12 to 48 hours (depending on the mushroom’s age).
Spore prints can be used to create spore syringes. They are also easy to ship, as they can be included in letter envelopes, for example. Prints are also a great way to store spores for extended periods, compared to spore syringes.
A ready to use spore syringe is a mixture of sterile water and mushroom spores. Spore prints are often used to provide spores for making these syringes.
Spore syringes are generally one-time use, popular among mushroom growers, who use them to inoculate sterile substrates. Many mushroom growers do not have the ability (or the confidence) to create sterile syringes from sterile impressions using various techniques, so they purchase syringes from vendors.