Friday, 5 August 2011

Friday Fungus: Oysters at Bolton Abbey

Part of me wanted to pick these - they were right by the main path into Strid Wood at Bolton Abbey - but they might not have been what I thought! It's not the classic oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) - too early in the year for that I think but it could be Pleurotus pulmonarius, the White or Summer Oyster.

The separation of Pleurotus pulmonarius from the infamous "true" oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus, is based on very good evidence that covers the three "species concepts" most commonly applied to fungi. In the laboratory, Pleurotus pulmonarius cannot "mate" with the other species in the oyster complex, so it is a good biological species. It also represents a fairly distinct morphological species, since it is paler (and frequently smaller) than the brownish Pleurotus ostreatus and appears to develop more of a stem, more of the time. DNA evidence supports Pleurotus pulmonarius as a phylogenetic species and, to top it all off, there is an ecological difference: it appears in warmer weather than Pleurotus ostreatus, which favors cold-weather conditions.

So there you go - it would have been proper tasty!


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