Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Summer Oyster Mushrooms

Some oyster mushrooms I found in Auburn, AL.
      In many areas of the country, it is common for the edible oyster mushroom* (Pluerotus sp.) to flush out during the summer.  Weber and Smith report that oyster mushrooms can be found during any month in the southeast, but they are most common during cooler weather.  I typically find them in the late fall and winter, so on Monday I was pleasantly surprised to find 1.25 pounds of oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) on a log that produced last winter.  In about thirty seconds, I had quickly gathered enough mushrooms for a few meals.  I guess the lesson is to always be observant because you never know what you will find.  If you do find what you suspect to be an oyster mushroom*, make sure it has decurrent and non-serate gills, and a white or lilac spore print.  So far, all the oyster mushrooms I have found in AL have had lilac spore prints.  You can read more about them at this post or here.

The typical growth form of oysters.
*Note:  It is your responsibility to correctly identify any plant or fungi that you plan on eating.  Consult a local expert and/or an accurate field guide.  Do not eat any wild plant or fungus unless you are 100% sure of its identity.

Nancy Smith Weber and Alexander H. Smith. A Field Guide to Southern Mushrooms. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor Michigan. 1985 pp.61-64.

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