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Thursday, July 12, 2012

1. Some of the Most Important Cultivated Oyster Mushroom species

I will briefly present some of the most worldwide cultivated oyster mushroom species. An important aspect worth considering here is that some Pleuortus species are thermophilic (they love higher temperature ~30-32 °C / 86-89.6 F) while some other species are chriophilic (lower temperatures such as ~8-15 °C / 46.4-59 F are more suitable for their development). Taking into account this, we may choose what species to cultivate and in what season. Another important aspect is the sensitivity level of the mushroom; therefore we have more or less sensible species to the environmental factors present in the grow room. One thing is certain, these factors influence the mushroom developmental process, and are composed of biotic (e. g., competitive molds, flies, nematods, or other competitive mushrooms for the same substrate), while a-biotic factors refer to developmental conditions such as: temperature, humidity, ventilation, and light.

Species of Cultivated Pleurotus:

1. Pleurotus citrinopileatus (golden oyster mushroom)
2. P. djamor (flamingo, salmon or pink oyster mushroom)
3. P. eryngii (king oyster mushroom)
4. P. ostreatus (oyster mushroom)
5. P. florida (the Florida oyster)
6. P. pulmonarius (the lung oyster, Phoenix mushroom)
7. P. cornucopiae (branched oyster mushroom)
8. P. columbinus
9. P. cystidiosus
10. P. flabellatus

Pleurotus citrinopileatus 
(Golden Oyster Mushroom)

The golden oyster mushroom is an impressing edible mushroom species es-pecially because of its unique flavor and beautiful color: a light yellow pleasant to the human eye. This species has also a medicinal value and currently is subject to further scientific investigations. In spite of its qualities, this mushroom is more sensitive, has a lower productivity rate and is a thermophilic species compared to Pleurotus ostreatus which rather loves cold weather. 

Fig. 2. Pleurotus citrinopileatus fruitbodies (Photo

Pleurotus cornucopiae

This species may be characterized by a cap which in the young state is cream colored ant then becomes yellowish-ochraceous, at maturity turns darker ochraceous-dark brown. The cap is funnel shaped while the inner flash is white, thin with a pleasant odour and mild taste. There is a variety very similar to that of the golden oyster mushroom (P. citrinopileatus) often being confused with the latter. On the market may be seen a lot of hybrids some of them between P. ostreatus and P. cornucopiae bearing characters of both species; however, in some cases hard to distinguish, therefore experimented mushroomers are talking about Pleurotus without mentioning the species name but referring only to its ge-nus.
Fig. 3. Pleurotus cornucopiae fruitbodies 

Pleurotus djamor 
(Flamingo, Pink Oyster Mushroom)

This beautiful oyster mushroom species is native to the tropical and subtropical areas and unlike P. citrinopileatus (the golden oyster mushroom) this species has an exotic look especially because of its pleasant color. Its morphological characteristics resemble P. ostreatus and include a complex of varieties such as: var. cyathiformis (with a white cap), var. djamor (white cap), var. fuscopruinosus (pruinose dark-colored cap), var. fuscoroseus (brownish-pink cap), var. roseus (pink colored cap), and var. terricola (white cap). Above all these varieties, P. djamor var. roseus is the most appreciated among mushroom cultivators especially because of its spectacular presence showing a color similar to that of the salmon flesh color. Unlike most oyster mushroom species it may be cultivated very easily whereas its mycelium has a better substrate colonization rate and a higher productivity rate than other oyster mushroom species. In addition, this species is thermotolerant and therefore suitable to be cultivated in warm weather. 

Fig. 4. Pleurotus djamor fruitbodies 
(Photo credits:

Pleurotus eryngii 
(King Oyster Mushroom)

Few of the cultivated oyster mushrooms are so appreciated because of their flavor as this species. Easily cultivated, this mushroom has also a therapeutical utility whereas in terms of productivity is less productive than other types of cultivated oyster mushrooms, therefore experimented mushroomers at inoculation use more mycelium than in other species. In addition, to stimulate fruitbody production they use nutritive supplements such as wheat or rye grains.

Fig. 5. Pleurotus eryngii fruitbodies 
(Photo credits:

Pleurotus ostreatus 
(Oyster Mushroom)

The commonly cultivated oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus, as I know is the second worldwide cultivated mushroom after champignon (the white button mushroom). The latin word 'pleurotus' originally comes from the greek word 'pleura' = side and 'otus' = ear and refers to the lateral or eccentric position of the stem on the mushroom cap. The word 'ostreatus' as a whole comes from 'ostrea' which means oyster and refers to the cap morphological aspect. In the wild this species has an affinity for beech wood, while when cultivated, may be grown on a wide range of substrata. It is very easy to grow and lots of productive strains are available from this species. P. ostreatus may be grown in any season since it develops well at low temperatures as 8-14 °C (46.4-57.2 F) or high temperatures as 30-32 °C (86-89.6 F).  

Fig. 6. Pleurotus ostreatus fruitbodies

Pleurotus florida 
(The Florida Oyster Mushroom)

Originating from Florida, this oyster mushroom variety is a thermophilic species (loves heat) suitable to be cultivated in warm and moist weather. From a taxonomical point of view it's name as a species doesn't exist although it is widely used across the world. Unlike Pleurotus ostreatus this variety is easy to grow and comparable with P. ostreatus when thinking about mycelium colonization rate of random substrata; however, according to some mushroomers is somewhat less productive.

Fig. 7. Pleurotus florida fruitbodies

Pleurotus pulmonarius 
(Phoenix Mushroom or Indian Oyster)
The latin word 'pulmonarius' means lung and this mushroom resembles the color and shape of the human lungs. This species includes o complex of varieties such as: var. juglandis, var. lapponicus and var. pulmonarius. The juglandis variety may be encountered in the forests growing on Juglans spp. trees, while the other varieties grow on other hardwoods and conifers across temperate and subtropical areas. This species is often confused with P. ostreatus and P. sajor-caju other cultivated oyster mushrooms. 
Fig. 8. Pleurotus pulmonarius (Photo credits:

Note: Of all the presented species and varieties here, the beginner cultivator should choose Pleurotus ostreatus especially because this species doesn't need strict environmental conditions in order to develop. Therefore cultivation mistakes are allowed especially for the beginner cultivator. It is important to get familiarized with what means the cultivation of oyster mushrooms and then you may start by cultivate other oyster mushroom species as well. 

Find Out More!
1. Some of the Most Important Cultivated Oyster Mushroom Species
2. Preparing the Chamber and Tools Needed for Oyster Mushroom Cultivation


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The Author Recommends
Here are some of recommendations for books I've reviewed that can improve your results. This is a short list since it only includes my top picks.
Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms -by Paul Stamets
The Mushroom Cultivator: A Practical Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home -by Paul Stamets Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World -by Paul Stamets
Shiitake Growers Handbook: The Art and Science of Mushroom Cultivation -by Paul Przybylowicz, John Donoghue
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