The Oyster mushroom, or Pleurotus ostreatus, is a common mushroom prized for its edibility and lack of confusing look-alikes. It is related to the “king oyster mushroom”. Both the Latin and common name refer to the shape of the fruiting body.
The Latin pleurotus (sideways) refers to the sideways-growth of the stem with respect to the cap while the Latin ostreatus (and the English common name, oyster) refers to the shape of the cap which resembles the bi-valve of the same name. The oyster is one of the more commonly sought wild mushrooms, though it can also be cultivated on straw and other media.
The cap is smooth; oblong and often convex with age; 50-200 mm in diameter; and ranges from white to brown to blue-gray. The margin can be smooth with a slight wave.
The flesh of the most common variety is white and can be thin or thick. A range of different colours can be found in the wild and can be cultivated. Yellow, pink, blue, and gray. Gills are decurrent (descend down the stem) and attached and white to light yellow.
The stem is short, often horizontal and emerging from wood.The spores form a white to lilac-gray print on dark media.The mycelia is white and grows rapidly.The Oyster Mushroom is wide-spread in temperate forests throughout the world. It grows on dead wood year round and all strains need moist conditions to fruit although different strains fruit in different temperature ranges.
Oyster mushrooms are a source of statin drugs. The oyster mushroom is also one of the few known carnivorous mushrooms. Its mycelia can kill and digest nematodes.
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