Pleurotus is a genus of gilled mushrooms which includes one of the most widely eaten mushrooms, P. ostreatus. Species of Pleurotus may be called oyster, abalone, or tree mushrooms, and are some of the most commonly cultivated edible mushrooms in the world.[1] Pleurotus fungi have also been used in mycoremediation of pollutants, such as petroleum and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.[2][3]

Pleurotus ostreatus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Pleurotaceae
Genus: Pleurotus
(Fr.) P. Kumm. 1871
Type species
Pleurotus ostreatus
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Ecology is saprotrophic
Edibility is choice



The caps may be laterally attached (with no stipe). If there is a stipe, it is normally eccentric and the gills are decurrent along it. The term pleurotoid is used for any mushroom with this general shape.[4]

The spores are smooth and elongated (described as "cylindrical"). Where hyphae meet, they are joined by clamp connections. Pleurotus is not considered to be a bracket fungus, and most of the species are monomitic (with a soft consistency). However, remarkably, P. dryinus can sometimes be dimitic, meaning that it has additional skeletal hyphae, which give it a tougher consistency like bracket fungi.[5]

In the American Pacific Northwest, oysters can be found from March to May.[6]


P. pulmonarius, Sweden

The classification of species within the genus Pleurotus is difficult due to high phenotypic variability across wide geographic ranges, geographic overlap of species, and ongoing evolution and speciation. Early taxonomic efforts placed the oyster mushrooms within a very broad Agaricus as Agaricus ostreatus (Jacq. 1774). Paul Kummer defined the genus Pleurotus in 1871; since then, the genus has been narrowed with some species reclassified to other genera, such as Favolaschia, Hohenbuehelia, Lentinus, Marasmiellus, Omphalotus, Panellus, Pleurocybella, and Resupinatus. See Singer (1986)[7] for an example of Pleurotus taxonomy based on morphological characteristics.



More recently, molecular phylogenetics has been utilized to determine genetic and evolutionary relationships between groups within the genus, delineating discrete clades.[8][9][10] Pleurotus, along with the closely related genus Hohenbuehelia, has been shown to be monophyletic.[11] Tests of cross-breeding viability between groups have been used to further define which groups are deserving of species rank, as opposed to subspecies, variety, or synonymy. If two groups of morphologically distinct Pleurotus fungi are able to cross-breed and produce fertile offspring, they meet one definition of species. These reproductively discrete groups, referred to as intersterility groups, have begun to be defined in Pleurotus.[9][12] Many binomial names used in literature are now being grouped together as species complexes using this technique, and may change.

Phylogenetic species


The following species list is organized according to 1. phylogenetic clade,[8][10] 2. intersterility group (group number in Roman numerals) or sub-clade,[9][12] and then 3. any older binomial names that have been found to be closely related, reproductively compatible, or synonymous, although they may no longer be taxonomically valid. This list is likely to be incomplete.

P. populinus, Pennsylvania, USA
Pleurotus mushrooms production at the Agricultural Science and Technology School, Science City of Muñoz, Philippines

Former species




The genus name Pleurotus literally means side ear in reference to the mushroom caps being laterally attached to the substrate. It is a composite of the Ancient Greek words πλευρά : pleurá - side, and the stem -oto referring to ears (from οὖς, ὠτός : ear).



Pleurotus fungi are found in both tropical and temperate climates throughout the world.[1] Most species of Pleurotus are white-rot fungi on hardwood trees, although some also decay conifer wood.[3] Pleurotus eryngii is unusual in being a weak parasite of herbaceous plants, and P. tuber-regium produces underground sclerotia.[17]

In addition to being saprotrophic, all species of Pleurotus are also nematophagous, catching nematodes by paralyzing them with a toxin.[20][11] In the case of the carnivorous mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus, it was shown that small, fragile lollipop-shaped structures (toxocysts) on fungal hyphae contain a volatile ketone, 3-octanone, which disrupts the cell membrane integrity of nematodes, leading to rapid cell and organismal death, hypothetically either to defend themselves and/or to acquire nutrients.[21]





Oyster mushrooms are popular for cooking, torn up or sliced, especially in stir fry or sauté, because they are consistently thin, and so will cook more evenly than uncut mushrooms of other types.[22] They are often used in vegetarian cuisine.[23]



The 2007 Cosco Busan oil spill was remediated partly by using 1000 mats of human hair collected from Bay Area salons woven into mats, then used to grow oyster mushrooms, helping to absorb the oil.[24]

After the 2017 Tubbs Fire in California, oyster mushrooms were grown to help remediate toxic ash run-off.[25]

See also



  1. ^ a b Chang, Shu-ting; Miles, Philip G. (2004). "Pleurotus – A Mushroom of Broad Adaptability". Mushrooms: cultivation, nutritional value, medicinal effect, and environmental impact (2nd ed.). CRC Press. pp. 315–325. ISBN 978-0-8493-1043-0.
  2. ^ Paul Stamets (2005). Mycelium Running. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-1-58008-579-3. OCLC 262557556.
  3. ^ a b Cohen, R.; Persky, L.; Hadar, Y. (2002). "Biotechnological applications and potential of wood-degrading mushrooms of the genus Pleurotus". Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 58 (5): 582–94. doi:10.1007/s00253-002-0930-y. PMID 11956739. S2CID 45444911.
  4. ^ Marcel Bon (1987). The Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and North-Western Europe. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-39935-X.
  5. ^ Knudsen, Henning; Jan Vesterhout (2008). Funga Nordica. Copenhagen: Nordsvamp. p. 321.
  6. ^ "Seasonal Chart for Edible Mushrooms". Central Oregon Mushroom Club. Retrieved 2024-03-31.
  7. ^ Singer R. (1986). The Agaricales in Modern Taxonomy (4th ed.). Koenigstein Königstein im Taunus, Germany: Koeltz Scientific Books. ISBN 3-87429-254-1.
  8. ^ a b c d e Gonzalez, Patrice; Labarère, Jacques (2000). "Phylogenetic relationships of Pleurotus species according to the sequence and secondary structure of the mitochondrial small-subunit rRNA V4, V6 and V9 domains". Microbiology. 146 (1): 209–221. doi:10.1099/00221287-146-1-209. PMID 10658667.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Vilgalys, Rytas; Sun, Bao Lin (May 1994). "Ancient and recent patterns of geographic speciation in the oyster mushroom Pleurotus revealed by phylogenetic analysis of ribosomal DNA sequences". PNAS. 91 (10): 4599–4603. Bibcode:1994PNAS...91.4599V. doi:10.1073/pnas.91.10.4599. PMC 43833. PMID 8183955.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Vilgalys, R.; Moncalvo, J.M.; Liou, S.R.; Volovsek, M. (1996). "Recent advances in molecular systematics of the genus Pleurotus" (PDF). In Royse, D.J. (ed.). Mushroom biology and mushroom products: proceedings of the 2nd International Conference, June 9–12, 1996. University Park, PA (USA): Pennsylvania State University: World Society for Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products. pp. 91–101. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-02. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
  11. ^ a b Thorn, R. Greg; Moncalvo, Jean-Marc; Reddy, C. A.; Vilgalys, Rytas (Mar–Apr 2000). "Phylogenetic Analyses and the Distribution of Nematophagy Support a Monophyletic Pleurotaceae within the Polyphyletic Pleurotoid-Lentinoid Fungi". Mycologia. 92 (2): 241–252. doi:10.2307/3761557. JSTOR 3761557.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Peterson, Ronald H.; Hughes, Karen W. & Psurtseva, Nadezhda. "Biological Species in Pleurotus". The University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Archived from the original on 2011-03-02. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Segedin, BP; Buchanan, PK; Wilkie, JP (1995). "Studies in the agaricales of New Zealand: New species, new records and renamed species of Pleurotus (Pleurotaceae)". Australian Systematic Botany. 8 (3): 453–482. doi:10.1071/SB9950453.
  14. ^ Alma E. Rodriguez Estrada, Maria del Mar Jimenez-Gasco and Daniel J. Royse (May–June 2010). "Pleurotus eryngii species complex: Sequence analysis and phylogeny based on partial EF1α and RPB2 genes". Fungal Biology. 114 (5–6): 421–428. doi:10.1016/j.funbio.2010.03.003. PMID 20943152.
  15. ^ Zervakis, Georgios I.; Moncalvo, Jean-Marc; Vilgalys, Rytas (2004). "Molecular phylogeny, biogeography and speciation of the mushroom species Pleurotus cystidiosus and allied taxa". Microbiology. 150 (3): 715–726. doi:10.1099/mic.0.26673-0. PMID 14993321.
  16. ^ For P. levis, see "Species Fungorum - Pleurotus levis page". Species Fungorum. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  17. ^ a b Hibbett, D. S.; Thorn, R. G. (Sep–Oct 1994). "Nematode-Trapping in Pleurotus tuberregium". Mycologia. 86 (5): 696–699. doi:10.2307/3760542. JSTOR 3760542.
  18. ^ Capelari, Marina; Desjardin, Dennis E.; Perry, Brian A.; Asai, Tatiane; Stevani, Cassius V. (2011). "Neonothopanus gardneri: a new combination for a bioluminescent agaric from Brazil". Mycologia. 103 (6): 1433–40. doi:10.3852/11-097. PMID 21700638. S2CID 1333393.
  19. ^ Miller, O.K. (1994). "Observations on the genus Omphalotus in Australia". Mycologia Helvetica. 2: 91–100.
  20. ^ Barron, GL; Thorn, RG (1987). "Destruction of nematodes by species of Pleurotus". Canadian Journal of Botany. 65 (4): 774–778. doi:10.1139/b87-103.
  21. ^ Lee, Ching-Han (2023). "A carnivorous mushroom paralyzes and kills nematodes via a volatile ketone". Science Advances. 9 (3): eade4809. Bibcode:2023SciA....9E4809L. doi:10.1126/sciadv.ade4809. PMC 9848476. PMID 36652525.
  22. ^ Freedman, Louise (1987). "Oyster Mushroom". Wild About Mushrooms: The Cookbook of the Mycological Society of San Francisco. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 9780943186306. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  23. ^ "Deep Fried Oyster Mushroom". Kitchen Chaos. October 31, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  24. ^ May M (14 November 2007). "Hair and mushrooms create a recipe for cleaning up oily beaches". SFGate. Retrieved 8 March 2024.
  25. ^ Burlison D (30 April 2018). "Bioremediation Efforts Mushroom in the Aftermath of California's North Bay Fires". Earth Island Journal. Retrieved 8 March 2024.