Pleurotus ostreatus

With today’s entry, we welcome a new work-study student helping with Botany Photo of the Day, Katherine Van Dijk. Katherine is a fourth year student enrolled in the UBC’s Environmental Sciences program. Katherine writes:

Thank you to mossgreen2011@Flickr for this picture of Pleurotus ostreatus.

Commonly known as an oyster mushroom, the name of this species comes from Latin: pleurotus meaning “sideways”, and ostreatus relating to its similarity to the oyster bivalve (possibly its taste as well). This species is edible. First cultivated by Germany for sustenance during WWI, it is now cultivated world-wide. Due to its prevalent culinary uses, other names include píng gū in Chinese, nấm sò or nấm bào ngư in Vietnamese, and chippikkoon in Malayalam.

Wikipedia provides a fairly comprehensive description of the uses and prevalence of Pleurotus ostreatus, including its potential for lowering cholesterol, and its use in “mycoremediation”, as termed by Paul Stamets.

Dr. Paul Stamets conducted an experiment with Dr. S. A. Thomas, whereby piles of soil contaminated with diesel are remediated using mycelia of oyster mushrooms. The results were compared to conventional remediation methods. A discussion of this study may be seen and heard in the TED Talks video “6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World” or Stamets’ Fungi Perfecti site. The fungi act by breaking down the long chains of organic carbon from contaminants in the same way as they decay lignin and cellulose, their usual source of carbon.

Pleurotus ostreatus

9 responses to “Pleurotus ostreatus”

  1. Susan Gustavson

    I love the idea of these delicious mushrooms saving the world!

  2. phillip

    ..Welcome Katherine..! must be sweet working with of the best..
    ..i don’t mean to be presumption-es..but my surname is Lacock…and the many stories i could tell comming of age..

  3. Irma in Sweden

    Welcome Katherine. Looking forward to interesting pieces

  4. elizabeth a airhart

    gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together
    drawing them from thier homes -clare asberry
    the women of troy hill– this bot a day page does just that
    welcome katherine
    p.s. we know how to keep phillip in hand
    i live in florida united states of america

  5. Heather, Melbourne Australia

    Welcome Katherine! I’m looking forward to your posts. One of my favourite uses of oyster mushrooms is for vegetarian oyster sauce.
    @ Elizabeth – thanks for the big laugh. I’m seeing your posts in a whole new light.

  6. Wendy Cutler

    Catherine, nice to have you on board! This reads like you’ve had lots of experience already writing these articles.
    I’ve got to watch that TED talk, but it’s 1:19am, so not right now.

  7. Autumn

    I just read an article in Conservation Magazine about how oyster mushrooms are being used to ‘eat’ disposable diapers in Mexico, AND they are edible…though I’m not sure who will want to eat them after knowing what they were ‘eating’! (supposedly the diapers are sterilized before adding the fungi…)

  8. Katherine

    Thank you all for the welcome. I was quite fascinated when I found the TED talks myself, hopefully lots more interesting capabilities of plants to come.

  9. Katherine

    Also, my bad, please know that “pleurotus” means “sideways ear” not simply sideways.

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