|Major Groups > Gilled Mushrooms > Pale-Spored > Oysters > Panus conchatus|
by Michael Kuo
Panus conchatus is a tough, long-lived pleurotoid wood rotter, recognized by its white spore print, its fairly smooth (rather than hairy) cap, and its purplish colors--though the colors eventually fade to brownish or cinnamon brown. The stem of Panus conchatus is almost always fairly well developed, but is usually somewhat off-center or lateral.
Despite the presence of gills on Panus conchatus, molecular biologists tell us that it belongs with the polypores, and has evolved with them. If you stop and think about that for a minute, you will see that gills, therefore, came to Panus conchatus independently--completely irrespective of the development of gills in the "gilled mushrooms." But if you are shocked by this example of what is called "convergent evolution," consider that "eyes," depending on how you define them, evolved independently in the animal world 40-60 times!
Examples of convergent evolution, however, are not evidence of some Grand Plan in the mind of a Designer; rather, they are merely indications that life on earth is limited by the laws of physics--how gravity, light, temperature (and so on) operate. In other words, an organism's evolutionary options, while not predetermined, are indeed limited by the physics of life on our planet. Thus, successful strategies like "eyes" or "gills" are more likely to occur.
Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or, more frequently, gregariously to clustered; on decaying hardwood sticks and logs; summer and fall (winter on the West Coast); widely distributed in North America.
Cap: 5-15 cm wide; broadly convex at first, but soon with a central depression or vase-shaped; dry; smooth or with minute hairs but not prominently hairy; purplish to purplish brown when young, becoming reddish brown or tan in age; the colors often breaking up into patches with maturity; the margin inrolled.
Gills: Running down the stem; close; often forking; purplish when fresh and young, later pale brownish.
Stem: 2-5 cm long; up to 3 cm wide; tough; usually off-center or lateral; dry; finely hairy when young; colored like the cap.
Flesh: Whitish; very tough.
Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.
Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface negative.
Spore Print: White.
Microscopic Features: Spores 5-7 x 2.5-3.5 µ; elliptical; smooth; inamyloid. Pleurocystidia 35-45 x 8-11 µ; ventricose or capitate. Cheilocystidia similar to pleurocystidia, variously shaped.
Panus torulosus, Lentinus conchatus, and Lentinus torulosus are synonyms.
Further Online Information:
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2005, February). Panus conchatus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/panus_conchatus.html