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Oysters: Pleurotoid Mushrooms
[ Basidiomycetes . . . ]
by Michael Kuo
Mushrooms with a "pleurotoid" habit grow on wood, have gills, and typically form semicircular or kidney-shaped caps that are either directly attached to the wood or are attached by means of a rudimentary, lateral stem. They often grow in loose or dense clusters, forming shelf-like groups. However, many pleurotoid mushrooms can develop more or less central stems, especially when they grow on the upper surface of a log--when the stemless, sideways fruiting strategy would not allow the mushroom to hold its gills so that the spores will catch air currents and be distributed.
The oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus, is the best known mushroom in this group, and its genus name gives the pleurotoid mushrooms their label. To be less technical, I am calling these mushrooms "oysters," but it should be pointed out that neither term indicates a taxonomic group of naturally related mushrooms; it is simply convenient, when identifying mushrooms, to narrow down the possibilities by lumping the oysters together. Species of Crepidotus, for example, have brown spore prints and belong in the family Crepidotaceae--while Pleurotus ostreatus has a lilac spore print and belongs in an entirely different family, the Pleurotaceae.
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Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2005, February). Oysters: Pleurotoid mushrooms. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/pleurotoid.html