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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Pleurotineae "oysters" of the PNW
by Danny Miller

Click here for my Pictorial Key to all white spored "oysters".


This relatively basal sub-order of the Agaricales has a number of very thin club mushrooms, probably representing an ancestral state to gills, but mostly consists of wood-inhabiting "oyster" shaped white spored gilled mushrooms (with a lateral or absent stem). This sub-order also appears to contain the "normal" non-oysters Tricholomopsis (on wood) and Aphroditeola (with the derived trait of growing on the ground, something not common until the more derived clades). White spored oysters appear in other more derived sub-orders as well. My pictorial key link above covers them all.

More work may have to be done to sort out this sub-order and how the various families relate. This page covers the pleurotoid stature (oyster) mushrooms.

abundant common uncommon rare - colour codes match my Pictorial Key and are my opinions and probably reflect my bias of living in W WA. Rare species may be locally common in certain places at certain times.

Click here to download the FASTA data of all my DNA sequences

Summary of Interesting Results

Here are some of the newest, most interesting results of the study:

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Pleurotus (Pleurotaceae) - click to expand

The "real" oyster mushrooms. Large, off-white caps (tan or grey), smooth gill edges, short eccentric or lateral stem, predominantly growing on hardwoods. Species in this family can trap and consume nematodes so they are carnivorous.

Species mentioned: Pleurotus ostreatus, pulmonarius, populinus, dryinus.

Hohenbuehelia (Pleurotaceae) - click to expand

Somewhat gelatinous flesh and metuloid cystidia, but in practice hard to tell apart from other genera. Species in this family can trap and consume nematodes so they are carnivorous.

Species mentioned: Hohenbuehelia angustata, cyphelliformis, mastrucata, petaloides, tremula, unguicularis, nigra. Resupinatus niger.

Pleurocybella (Phyllotopsidaceae)

Pleurocybella aff. porrigens EU - angel wings. Pure white, shoehorn shaped and stemless growing on conifers. Often eaten even though it was responsible for a bunch of fatalities in Japan of people with kidney problems. Our local sequences are 1.5% different than in the EU so ours may need a new name. Two Japanese species are different from the EU by 2% and 6% respectively, so it's even possible that the Japanese toxin is unique to that area. This family also contains some very thin club mushrooms.

Pleurocybella aff. porrigens © Steve Trudell

Phyllotopsis (Phyllotopsidaceae)

Phyllotopsis cf nidulans EU - A unique, beautiful stinky, fuzzy orange medium sized stemless oyster from both conifers and hardwoods. Panellus stipticus is similar but stemmed, bitter tasting and not stinky. Alaska sequences are 2-4 bp plus 1 indel different than EU sequences. The east coast and Arizona have a sister species 3% different in ITS. Which does the PNW have? We need collections to find out! Some of our collections are reported to smell worse than some in Europe. Is that meaningful? This family also contains some very thin club mushrooms.

Phyllotopsis cf. nidulans © Michael Beug

Sarcomyxa (Sarcomyxaceae)

Sarcomyxa serotina EU - The "late oyster", another unique, beautiful medium-sized late season oyster usually from hardwoods, with an green and orange cap and a stubby lateral orange stem with black dots. It has a somewhat viscid cap and gelatinous flesh. Local sequences are only a single bp and indel different than a bunch of EU sequences.

Sarcomyxa serotina © Andrew Parker


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