Common Names: Oyster mushroom, tree oyster mushroom, oyster shelf
Sub-category: Oyster Mushrooms
The oyster mushroom is one of the few known carnivorous mushrooms. Its mycelia can kill and digest nematodes. The mushroom has a broad, fan or oyster-shaped cap spanning 5 to 25 cm; natural specimens range from white to gray or tan to dark-brown; the margin is inrolled when young, and is smooth and often somewhat lobed or wavy. The flesh is white, firm, and varies in thickness due to stipe arrangement. The gills of the mushroom are white to cream, and descend on the stalk if present. If so, the stipe is off-center with a lateral attachment to wood. The spore print of the mushroom is white to lilac-gray, and best viewed on dark background. The mushroom's stipe is often absent. When present, it is short and thick.
It is a saprotroph that acts as a primary decomposer of wood, especially deciduous trees, and beech trees in particular.