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Summary: 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
Cap: 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"
Flesh: firm, sometimes water-soaked near the cap skin; dull white, "not changing upon bruising or cutting"
Gills: 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
Stem: 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
Odor: pleasant, with a vague anise-like aroma when fresh
Taste: 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
It is difficult if not impossible to distinguish North American field collections of P. pulmonarius from P. ostreatus. However, differences in their mating behaviour, distribution, and seasonality indicate that they are distinct species, in the western states P. pulmonarius grows on conifers as well as Quercus, Lupinus etc. (on hardwoods in the eastern states), while P. ostreatus grows mostly on hardwoods, (Vilgalys); Pleurotus ostreatus also tends to be larger; Pleurotus populinus has buff spore print, subdistant gills, longer spores, and generally grows on Populus; Pleurocybella porrigens somewhat similar but smaller, thinner, and fades from white; Panellus serotinus has a yellow stem punctate with brownish scales, gills with ocher yellow colors, and cap commonly with greenish or violet tones
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2020-10-21 4:22:41 AM
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