(NOTE: If you are not interested in growing Oyster Mushrooms, but just finding in the wild, try going to the Nature's Restaurant Online site Oyster Mushroom page.)
The Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) is a sought after wild mushroom, and cultivated all over the world. In the woods, it will be found growing on either dead standing, or fallen trees. I've only seen it on deciduous (hardwood) trees.
- Kit search on the web here (Google search) and here (Bing search).
- How to grow Oyster mushrooms here (Google search) and here (Bing search).
- Recipe search on the web here (Google search) and here (Bing search).
- Pictures on the web here (Google images) and here (Bing images).
Eat only young specimens, cooked. Good in soups and stir-fry's. Since the flesh is thin and even in thickness, you can tear this one apart by hand. Only start with a little if you don't know how you will react to it. Even though it is sold in stores, it does tend to make some people feel sick.
- Cap Morphology: Cap is offset on the stem - the stem generally does not come from the center of the cap except when growing from the top of log (not common). The cap is irregular in shape and takes many forms and colors. Can be white, to tan, to light brown to dark brown, to a lilac-grey. Most often found with the margin of the cap turned down, but when fully mature the margin can be flat with the cap and very wavy and/or lobed. Cap shape can be convex, to flat, to concave to funnel shaped. Thickness of cap flesh is even and thin. Generally about 5-15 cm (2 to 6 inches) across
- Spore Bearing Surface: Gills on the underside of the cap. Regardless of the color of the cap, the gills are white to a soft off-white, and on occasion a light tan or light pinkish.
- Gill Attachment (how the Spore Bearing Surface is attached to the Stipe or Stem): Decurrent - the gills run down on to the stem
- Spore print: White, though I have read there can be some with lilac tinted white spores.
- Stipe (Stalk): Any one I have seen always has a stalk that comes from the underside of the cap. It can be so short you don't notice it at first. David Arora in "Mushrooms Demystified" says that the stalk can be absent altogether. This doesn't surprise me, as everything about this mushroom is highly variable.
- Partial Veil: None
- Season: Summer and fall
- Habitat: Saprotrophic - found on dead wood. Mainly hardwood. It is my experience that though it can be found on most hardwoods, in Southwestern Ontario I find it most often on American Beech logs.
- Notes: Though you can find a single one, it is most often found in large fruitings with mushrooms overlapping one another. Normally on the side of fallen logs or on standing dead trees. I have seen it coming from the top of logs, but this far less common.
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