Phyllotopsis nidulans

Phyllotopsis nidulans, commonly known as the mock oyster or the orange oyster, is a species of fungus in the family Phyllotopsidaceae, and the type species of the genus Phyllotopsis. It is widely dispersed in temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere, where it grows on decaying wood. The fungus fruit body consists of a fan-shaped, light orange fuzzy cap up to 8 cm (3 in) wide that grows singly or in overlapping clusters. On the cap underside are crowded orange gills. Mock oyster mushrooms have a strong, unpleasant odor, and are regarded as inedible though nonpoisonous.[2][3]

Phyllotopsis nidulans
Phyllotopsis nidulans 60083.jpg
Phyllotopsis nidulans
Scientific classification
P. nidulans
Binomial name
Phyllotopsis nidulans
(Pers.) Singer (1936)
  • Agaricus nidulans Pers. (1798)
  • Dendrosarcus mollis Paulet (1793)
  • Panus foetens Fr. (1838)
  • Agaricus jonquilla Lév. (1855)
  • Pleurotus nidulans (Pers.) P.Kumm. (1871)
  • Crepidotus nidulans (Pers.) Quél. (1875)
  • Claudopus nidulans (Pers.) Peck (1886)
  • Crepidotus jonquilla (Lév.) Quél. (1888)
  • Agaricus odorativus Britzelm. (1893)
  • Dendrosarcus nidulans (Pers.) Kuntze (1898)
  • Pocillaria foetens (Fr.) Kuntze (1898)
  • Panus nidulans (Pers.) Pilát (1930)


The mock oyster was first described scientifically in 1798 by Christian Hendrik Persoon as Agaricus nidulans. The specific epithet nidulans means "partly encased or lying in a cavity".[4] It is commonly known as "nestcap".[5]


The flesh has a sulphurous odor similar to rotten cabbage[4] or rotten eggs.[6] Although it is not known to be poisonous,[6] its disagreeable odor[7] would deter most from eating the mushrooms.

The caps are 2–10 cm (0.79–3.94 in) wide. The stems are either very short or nonexistent.[7]

The spore print is pink. The smooth, sausage-shaped to cylindrical spores measure 5–7 µm long by 2–3 µm wide. Clamp connections are present in the hyphae.[8]

Similar speciesEdit

Phyllotopsis subnidulans, found in the eastern US, is similar in appearance to P. nidulans. The former species can be distinguished by a deeper orange color, thinner gills with wider inter-gill spacing, and curved to sausage-shaped spores.[5] Other similar species include Lentinellus ursinusus, Crepidotus mollis, Panus rudis, Panus conchatus, and Pleurotus ostreatus.[7]

Habitat and distributionEdit

Fruit bodies grow singly or in overlapping clusters on dead wood. Phyllotopsis nidulans is widely distributed in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Its range extends north to Alaska,[6] and includes Costa Rica, where it has been recorded in the Talamanca mountains and on the Poas Volcano.[8] In Asia, it has been recorded in Korea.[9]


The predominant pigments in the fruit bodies include beta-carotene (58%), alpha-carotene (29%), echinenone (8%), and astaxanthin (4%).[10] P. nidulans also produces a unique amino acid, 3-(3-carboxyfuran-4-yl) l-alanine[11]


  1. ^ "Phyllotopsis nidulans (Pers.) Singer 1936". MycoBank. International Mycological Association. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  2. ^ Phillips, Roger (2010). Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books. p. 245. ISBN 978-1-55407-651-2.
  3. ^ Miller Jr., Orson K.; Miller, Hope H. (2006). North American Mushrooms: A Field Guide to Edible and Inedible Fungi. Guilford, CN: FalconGuide. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-7627-3109-1.
  4. ^ a b Smith AH; Nancy S. Weber NS. (1980). The Mushroom Hunter's Field Guide. University of Michigan Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-472-85610-7.
  5. ^ a b McKnight KH. (1998). A Field Guide to Mushrooms: North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-395-91090-0.
  6. ^ a b c Laursen GA, Seppelt RD (2010). Common Interior Alaska Cryptogams: Fungi, Lichenicolous Fungi, Lichenized Fungi, Slime Molds, Mosses, and Liverworts. University of Alaska Press. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-60223-109-2.
  7. ^ a b c Davis, R. Michael; Sommer, Robert; Menge, John A. (2012). Field Guide to Mushrooms of Western North America. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 192–194. ISBN 978-0-520-95360-4. OCLC 797915861.
  8. ^ a b Halling RE, Mueller GM (2005). Common Mushrooms of the Talamanca Mountains, Costa Rica. New York, New York: New York Botanical Garden Press. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-89327-460-3.
  9. ^ Jong WJm Young NK, Chang SK, Sang KH (2013). "Distribution of higher fungi in Chungcheong Province, Republic of Korea". Journal of Asia-Pacific Biodiversity. 6 (3): 347–359. doi:10.7229/jkn.2013.6.3.347.  
  10. ^ Klaui H, Bauernfeind JC (2012). Carotenoids as Colorants and Vitamin A Precursors: Technological and Nutritional Applications. Elsevier. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-323-13977-9.
  11. ^ Doyle RR, Levenberg B (1974). "l-3-(3-carboxyfuran-4-yl)alanine, a new amino acid from the mushroom Phyllotopsis nidulans" (PDF). Phytochemistry. 13 (12): 2813–2814. doi:10.1016/0031-9422(74)80246-3. hdl:2027.42/22228.

External linksEdit