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Types Of Oyster Mushrooms

Now that we have already talked about the Oyster mushroom, where to find it, and how it looks let us now talk about the different types of Oyster mushrooms. While there are 202 species of the Pleurotus clade we will talk about the the main 6 types of Oyster mushrooms you can find in the wild (or grow on your own).
 
While all of them are edible but with different flavor profiles only 6 of them fall under the Pleurotus species. Let’s start!
 

 

1.  Pearl Oyster (Pleurotus Ostreatus)

 
The poster child of the Oyster Mushroom family, these mushrooms are favorites by people in North America. They can be found abundantly in the woods of the USA. In terms of flavor, they have a milder and more tender flavor profile than a shiitake mushroom.
 
The taste is described as woodsy but slightly sweet. Add them in your egg dish and it will transform it entirely.
 

2.  Blue Oyster (Pleurotus Columbinus)

 
The Blue Oyster get’s it’s name because when the mushrooms first start to bloom they have blue caps.  However, when you find them full grown the blue color actually turns grey.
 
The caps are dark while the gills are pale. The distinct contrast between the cap and gill give it a regal appearance to some. Blue Oysters are favorite additions to Asian cuisines or stews because they don’t lose their shape in soup.
 
Another thing to note is that Blue Oysters are often used as meat replacements because of their chewy texture. As for taste, one will find it hard to distinguish the taste of a blue Oyster from a pearl Oyster.
 

3.  Golden Oyster (Pleurotus Citrinopileatus)

 
Mostly found in northern areas of Asia and cultivated in China, this fungi has been reported to be finding its place in North American woods. The golden Oyster comes in clusters of bright yellow cap with thin and delicate flesh.
 
It has a very distinct fragrance about it compared to its cousins. Golden Oysters can be eaten braised, in soups, or fried.
 

4.  Pink Oyster (Pleurotus Djamor)

 
With an appearance seemingly inspired by a flamenco dancer, the pink Oyster comes in vibrant pink with a ruffled look. Aptly named the flamingo Oyster, this fungi is native to the tropics as they like the warmer temperatures.
 
While the flavor profile is a bit similar to its cousins, it has a strong, woody smell and can be tougher than the others. If you were counting on its color to stick after cooking then you would be disappointed. Pink Oysters are often used as a substitute for seafood in chowder recipes.
 

5.  Phoenix Oyster (Pleurotus Pulmonarius)

 
Compared to its other cousins, the phoenix Oyster mushroom looks very similar to the pearl Oyster. The only difference is that the caps are smaller and have paler coloration. It also grows a longer stem than a pearl Oyster.
 
As for taste they are pretty much the same although some prefer it over the pearl Oyster for its thicker flesh. It can be paired with just about any type of dish but it works best with just garlic and butter and a hot pan.
 

6.  King Oyster (Pleurotus eryngii)

 
Aptly named due to its sheer size compared to the other types of oyster mushrooms, the king oyster looks nothing like its cousins. Instead of growing in clusters king oysters grow individually. They develop thicker and meatier stems with tan-colored caps.
 
Also called King Trumpet Oyster mushrooms, they have a soft and crunchy texture when cooked with a savory umami flavor almost similar to that of abalone.
 
 

7.  Elm Oyster (Hypsizygus Ulmarius)

 
The Elm oyster mushroom is actually not an oyster mushroom and has a misleading name.   It is not actually a pleurotus species. The reason it is not considered a true oyster mushroom is because of the gills.
 
The gills of a true oyster will run all the way down the stem.  A gill of the Elm oyster stop at the base of the stem.
 
This look-alike is not poisonous and can be eaten but they do not taste like a true oyster mushroom.
 

3 Poisonous Oyster Mushroom Look-Alikes

 

1.  Jack-O-Lantern (Omphalotus Olearius)

 
The Jack-O-Lantern is typically confused with the Chanterelles however to me it looks very similar to on Oyster mushroom so that’s why I added it to this list.  It also has gills that run down the stem like an oyster does.
 
The easiest way to identify it is the bright orange color.  Oyster mushrooms don’t turn orange.
 
This mushroom is not fatal if eaten however it is still poisonous.  If eaten you will experience severe vomiting, cramps and diarrhea.
 

2.  Ivory Funnel (Clitocybe Dealbata)

 
This mushroom looks very similar to the Elm oyster but the difference is this one is poisonous.  It also is different from the true Oyster mushroom in the gills stop at the base of the stem.
 
This mushroom is known as the sweating mushroom because if it eaten the poisonous symptoms are increase sweating followed by abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, blurred vision and labored breathing.
 

3.  Ghost Fungus (Omphalotus Nidiformis)

 
This mushroom actually glows in the dark (it has bioluminescent properties)!  How cool is that?
 
Well, you don’t want to eat it though because it is poisonous.  It is not lethal however it will cause severe cramps and vomiting.
 
It does resemble the oyster mushroom as the gills to extend all the way down the stem.  While it’s easy to tell the difference at night during the day light might be a little more difficult.
 
It typically only grow in Australia, Japan and India.  So, if  you don’t live there you shouldn’t have to worry about it.
 

What Are Oyster Mushrooms?

 
Oyster mushrooms is a type of edible mushroom. They are considered one of the most popular and widely consumed fungi all around the world. Their name derives from the shape of their cap that is similar to that of an oyster.
 
Oyster mushrooms are classified as a wood-decay fungus in that they digest moist wood.  As a white-rot fungi they break down the lignin in wood and help in decomposing our dying trees.
 
One can also notice that they share the similar coloration of a raw oyster. The color ranges from grey-ish brown to light grey. However, they have family members that come in a wide variety of colors.
 
Oyster mushrooms grow fast and sturdily. They are quite hardy and can tolerate varying weather conditions.
 
They are not very picky with their substrate. I’ve seen other people forage for oyster mushrooms among different types of trees in different seasons.
 
Oyster mushrooms can be cooked like many other mushrooms why sauteing them in a skillet over low eat with some olive oil or you can put them with some stir fry.
 
 
Where to Find Oyster Mushrooms?
 
Foragers often find oyster mushrooms in clusters on dying or rotten logs because they grow on wood. The good thing about it is that once you find a cluster you ought to find a couple more on the same log.
 
When farmed, oyster mushrooms like to grow individually but you can still see a few big clusters here and there.
 
If you like to forage for oyster mushrooms you need to look for dying or fallen hardwood trees or logs. Don’t forget to check underneath fallen trees as they prefer the shade.
 

How To Identify Oyster Mushrooms

 
If you are a novice, you might still get the Oyster Mushroom confused over a few types of mushrooms. However, I’m here to help you out. Let’s try to identify an oyster mushroom.
 
First, you need to check the cap. It should be oyster shaped or at least fan-shaped. Usually they come in sizes of 5-25 cm with no scales or warts whatsoever. The flesh is white and firm while the coloration of the top vary to light white to brown.
 
Next, oyster mushrooms are unique in that they have decurrent gills. Decurrent means the gills run from the underside of the cap down to the stem and most of the way down. Oyster mushrooms have white gills.
 
Oyster mushrooms don’t have stems. While some varieties do have one it should be stubby and short. It’s also a bit off-center. Note that there should be no sack or rim around the stem.
 
Oyster mushrooms grow only on dead organisms. This means if you see an oyster mushroom on a living tree then you probably should think twice.
 
In the wild, Oyster Mushrooms have a few look alikes and majority of them are harmless. There are ones you should be wary of like the Elm Oyster, Jack-O-Lantern Mushroom, and Ivory Funnel that can cause health issues when eaten.
 

4 Medicinal Health Benefits of Oyster Mushrooms

 
Oyster mushrooms are a great source of vitamins and nutrients to be included with any of your favorite meals.  They have:
 
  • 29 Calories in 1 cup (sliced)
 
  • Almost no fat
 
  • 361 mg of potassium
 
  • 5g of dietary fiber
 
  • 3 grams of protein
 
  • They also have good amounts of Vitamin D, B-6, Iron and Magnesium
 
Not only are they ‘jam packed’ with nutrients but they also have proven health benefits as a medicinal mushroom, such as:
 

1)  Immune System Booster

 
As with all mushrooms, they are jam packed with Beta Glucans that are found in the cell wall of the fungi.  These Beta Glucans work as immune system regulators.
 
They are also packed with antioxidants that stop those pesky free radicals from damaging the healthy cells in our bodies.
 

2)  Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

 
A clinical study was done that showed the Oyster mushroom is able to actually reduce the secretion of interferon-y, effectively stopping inflammation in it tracks.
 

3)  Cancer Growth Stopper

 
Multiple studies have been conducted that have shown that Oyster mushrooms can stop the spread of breast cancer, colon cancer as well as has therapeutic effects on leukemia cells and colorectal tumors.
 

4)  Cholesterol Lowering

 

Wrap Up

 
If you love oyster mushrooms, it might be hard to forage for them especially when you don’t have a forest nearby. While it’s nice to go grab a couple from the grocery 
 
A number of people are selling oyster mushroom growing kits that allow you to farm your very own oyster mushrooms right at your home. The good thing is that you will have the choice of what mushroom to grow (I pick the King Oyster).
 
The kits contain everything you might ever need so all you have to do is follow the instructions and wait for harvest.
 
How about you? What’s your favorite type of oyster mushroom? Let us know!
 
Now that you have an understanding of the main different types of Oyster mushrooms and their health benefits you will be able to avoid their poisonous look-alikes and eat them with confidence.
 
 

FDA DISCLAIMER

 
Curative Mushrooms has to post the standard FDA Disclaimer…The statements made regarding medicinal mushrooms have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. Curative Mushrooms is not making claims intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before consuming the medicinal mushrooms. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.
 

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

 
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Curative Mushrooms nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
 
Edible mushrooms are gaining huge popularity due to their high nutritional value. Whenever a person hears the word “mushroom” the first type of mushroom that comes to his/her mind is “oyster mushroom”. Oyster mushroom is one of the most famous edible mushrooms and most widely consumed mushroom in the world. It gets its name from the oyster shaped cap and a short stem. It is easily available in the market or grocery stores.
 
These mushrooms can be found throughout the year however, the main season for growing is March to May when the temperature is quite favorable for their development. Oyster mushrooms are one of the easiest mushrooms to grow at home.
 
Oyster mushrooms are very easy to identify. The article is intended to give you a complete guide about the different types of oyster mushrooms, how to identify them and which are the nice tasting oyster mushrooms. Once you are done reading this article you will be able to answer most of the questions related to oyster mushrooms.
 

Types of oyster mushrooms

 
There are different types of wild and cultivated oyster mushrooms that come in different colors. Wild types include pearl oyster, phoenix oyster and king oyster, while the cultivated types include blue, golden, and pink oyster mushrooms.

 

Pearl Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus)

 

Pleurotus ostreatus – Oyster Mushroom

 
Pearl oysters is the poster child of oyster mushroom family and the most common type of oyster mushroom. It is given the name due to its resemblance with a pearl. It was first time cultivated in Germany during World War 1 and now it is grown commercially around the world for food. Pearl oyster mushroom is the most consumed mushroom in North America. Oyster mushrooms have slightly sweet, woodsy, but milder and tender flavor than a shiitake mushroom. Adding oyster mushrooms to your vegetable and egg dishes will give make them taste amazing.
 

Golden Oyster (Pleurotus citrinopileatus)

 

Golden Oyster (Pleurotus citrinopileatus)

 
The name says it right, golden oyster mushrooms have a bright yellow golden color. It has a beautiful bright golden yellow cap with thin delicate flesh. It is a very delicate and eye-catching type of oyster mushroom. Golden oyster mushrooms are cultivated in China and are most commonly found in northern regions of Asia. Luckily, golden oyster mushroom is easy to grow at home and it does not need a lot of oxygen to survive, and it will grow well on different substrates. Golden oyster mushroom does not have a standout flavor and take the taste of spices added to it. However, they have a very nice and distinct taste compared to other mushrooms of the oyster family. These mushrooms are more complex and aromatic in flavor than pearl oyster mushrooms. Golden mushrooms can be eaten braised or in soups.
 

Blue Oyster (Pleurotus columbinus)

 

Blue Oyster (Pleurotus columbinus) ,

Blue oyster mushroom gets its name because initially produce blue caps. As they grow and become mature the blue color turns grey. The cap is dark while the gills are pale in color. It is a high yielding type of oyster mushroom. The distinct contrast between the gills and caps gives blue oyster mushroom a beautiful appearance. Blue oyster mushrooms are mostly added in soups and do not lose their shape. They are widely used in Asian cuisines. An interesting thing about blue oyster mushrooms is that they are often used as a supplement to meat due to their chewy texture. Blue oyster mushroom and pearl oyster mushroom have a very similar taste and they cannot be easily distinguished based on their taste.
 

Pink Oyster (Pleurotus djamor)

 

 
Pink oyster mushroom has a vibrant pink color with a ruffled look. It is also named as the flamingo oyster due to its appearance resembling with flamenco dance. It is native to the tropics and likes to grow at warmer temperatures. It is a delicate mushroom and can be often seen in the markets during warmer months. The bright pink color of this mushroom fades away when its cooked. It tastes similar like other mushrooms of the oyster family. Pink oyster mushrooms have a strong woody smell. If we talk about its culinary value pink oyster mushroom is often used as a substitute of seafood.
 

Phoenix oyster (Pleurotus pulmonarius)

 
 
Phoenix oyster mushroom looks similar to pearl oyster mushroom. The only difference is that phoenix oyster mushrooms have smaller and paler caps. Phoenix oyster has a larger stem and thicker flesh than pearl oyster mushroom. It tastes pretty much similar like pearl oyster mushroom. It can be used in any type of dish, but it tastes best with garlic and butter.
 
 
King oyster (Pleurotus eryngii), Credit:
King oyster mushroom is given the name due to its large size compared to other mushrooms of the oyster family. It looks very different than other types of oyster mushrooms. King oyster mushrooms grows individually instead of growing in clusters and develops thicker and fleshy white stems. The thicker stems have more culinary value. The caps are tan colored. It is also called king trumpet oyster mushroom because it has crunchy and soft texture when cooked. It has a mild flavor and is often used as seafood alternate in vegan recipes. These mushrooms can be added to a variety of Asian meals, noodles, and pasta.
 
Note: Remember not all oyster mushrooms are edible there are some poisonous look alike oyster mushrooms. You must know how to identify poisonous oyster mushrooms.
 

Look alike of oyster mushrooms

 

Elm oyster mushroom

 
Elm oyster mushroom is considered as a look-alike of oyster mushroom; however, it is not an oyster mushroom. It can be easily confused with true oyster mushrooms. To tell the difference between elm oyster mushroom and the true oyster mushrooms look at the gills closely. If the gills do not run down the stem just like in oyster mushrooms it is not a true oyster. The gills of elm oyster stop suddenly near the base of the stem.
 
Elm oyster mushrooms are edible mushrooms. As far as taste is concerned most of the consumers think that they do not taste as good as the real oyster mushrooms.

 

Jack-O-Lantern (Omphalotus Olearius)

 
Jack-O-Lantern is a bright orange colored mushroom and oyster mushrooms do not have orange color. It can be confused with oyster mushroom because it looks quite similar. The bright orange color is the easiest way to distinguish it from true oyster mushrooms. It also bears gill that run down the stem just like oyster mushroom.
 
Jack-O-Lantern is a poisonous mushroom however, it is not fatal. If you eat this mushroom accidentally you will experience the symptoms of diarrhea, cramps, stomach upset, and severe vomiting.
 

Ghost fungus (Omphalotus nidiformis)

 

 
Ghost fungus is a poisonous mushroom. It can cause severe cramps, stomach upset, and vomiting. It resembles oyster mushrooms because its gills extend all the way down the stem. An interesting feature of this mushroom is that it has bioluminescent properties, and it typically glows in the dark. Therefore, the mushroom is given the name ghost fungus. It is easy to tell the difference between ghost fungus and oyster mushrooms at night because in the day light it might be a little difficult to locate the gills. This mushroom grows only in India, Japan, and Australia. If you do not live in any of these regions, then there is nothing for you to worry about.
 
I hope now you are more familiar with different types of oyster mushrooms, and you can tell the difference between true oyster mushrooms and the look alike. Try adding these flavorful mushrooms in your food dishes and enjoy their rich nutritional benefits.

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