E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Pleurotus pulmonarius (Fr.) Quel.
no common name

Species account author: Ian Gibson.
Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Paul Dawson  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #83773)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Pleurotus pulmonarius
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Species Information

member of Pleurotus ostreatus complex (smooth whitish to grayish to brownish caps with shelf-like habit, soft thick flesh, whitish gills, and whitish to lilac spore deposit; see Pleurotus ostreatus and SIMILAR); description from Vilgalys(4) except where noted; Li(1) presented evidence in 2005 that this is the so-called phoenix mushroom "referring to the phoenix graph in the logo of the University of Hong Kong, which represents the basidioma of the fungus": almost a billion metric tons of the phoenix mushroom is produced worldwide every year, mostly in mainland China; collections used in Vilgalys(4) analysis came from BC, ID, and also AZ, CA, MD, MI, MN, MT, NC, NH, NY, PA, TN, VA, WI, Germany, Sweden
2.5-9cm, spathulate, oval to conch-shaped, nearly flat when old, margin recurved [curved up] to nearly straight when old; white to grayish white, pinkish brown or light orange brown often with a hint of gray, light brown or brown; dry, dull, bald, "often with shallow surface indentations near the margin and point of attachment"
firm, sometimes water-soaked near the cap skin; dull white, "not changing upon bruising or cutting"
short decurrent to decurrent, close to crowded, with 2 tiers of subgills, gills moderately broad, 0.5-1cm broad, often anastomosing and intervenose along stem; white to slightly cream color when old
1-2cm x "8-8 mm wide [sic]", lateral to subcentral; white; "surface covered with irregular shallow ridges that are sometimes intervenose to almost poroid and reticulate", extending from the gills, densely hispid [bristly] to pubescent [downy] over the base at the point of attachment
pleasant, with a vague anise-like aroma when fresh
mild at first and pleasant, becoming strongly fungal and eventually putrescent
Microscopic spores:
spores 7.5-10(11) x 2.8-4(4.5) microns, narrowly elliptic, [presumably smooth], inamyloid, colorless, thin-walled; basidia 4-spored, 20-27 x 6-8 microns, narrowly clavate, colorless, thin-walled; pleurocystidia similar to cheilocystidia, from numerous to very scarce, cheilocystidia 26-37 x (4)5-7.5 microns, capitate to fusiform, colorless, thin-walled, often with a basal clamp connection
Spore deposit:
variable, white, yellowish, buff to lavender gray when heavy

Habitat / Range

in imbricate [shingled] clusters, rarely single, on logs, limbs and stumps of conifers at mid-level elevations (1200-3000 m) in the western US, of hardwoods (primarily) in the eastern states

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


delicious, douse in water to remove beetles between gills, remove stems, and check for white grubs (Arora for P. ostreatus complex)

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Vilgalys(4), Arora(1) (discussing Pleurotus ostreatus complex), Trudell(4)*, Li(1)

References for the fungi

General References