Quick facts

Common name: oyster mushroom

Scientific name: Pleurotus ostreatus

Family: Pleurotaceae

Fruiting season: year-round

Habitat: broadleaf woodland

What do oyster mushrooms look like?

A large, edible fungus with a distinctive fan or oyster-shaped cap. Unlike some other species of foraged mushrooms, such as morel and chanterelle, oyster mushrooms are cultivated on a commercial basis

Cap: fan or oyster-shaped and broad. Can be from 5–25cm in length. The colour is often white or grey but sometimes tan-coloured in places. It may be lobed or wavy.

Gills: white or cream in colour. Vary in thickness depending on the age of the fungus.

Stipe (stalk): this can be missing from specimens but is often off-centre and is short and thick.

Spores: white or grey.

Credit: Sabena Jane Blackbird / Alamy Stock Photo

Where to find oyster mushrooms

The oyster mushroom is common in UK woods. It can be found on hardwood trees, particularly deciduous trees, such as beech.

Uses of oyster mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms are used in many different recipes and are available in a range of supermarkets. They are particularly popular in Asia for their subtle nutty flavour, and are even said to taste like oysters as well as resembling them. A study has shown that consumption of oyster mushroom extracts can lower cholesterol levels.

Did you know?

The oyster mushroom is one of the few known carnivorous mushrooms. They can kill nematodes (species of small worms).

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