Scientific Name : Pleurotus ostreatus
Family : Pleurotaceae
Tamil Name : Chippi kaalaan
Description : This mushroom has a broad, fan or oyster-shaped cap spanning 5–25 cm. Natural specimens range from white to gray or tan to dark-brown. The margin is in rolled when young, and is smooth and often somewhat lobed or wavy. The flesh is white, firm, and varies in thickness due to stipe arrangement.
Distribution and status: The oyster mushroom is widespread in many temperate and subtropical forests throughout the world, though it is absent from the Pacific, Northwest of North America, being replaced by P. pulmonarius
Habitat: Oyster mushroom is a saprotroph that acts as a primary decomposer of wood, especially deciduous trees, and beech trees in particular. It is a white-rot wood-decay fungus.
Habit: The cultivation technology of the culinary/medicinal mushroom Pleurotus spp. commonly called as oyster mushroom has been standardized on locally available substrates. Substrate can be pasteurized by hot water (80°C) for 2hours, suitable for small scale production or steam pasteurization at 80°C for 2 hours. The substrate is dried with little water and spawns are added for cultivation of the mushroom.
Food: It survives on rotten and decayed wood from which it draws its nutrients.
Life cycle: Millions of spores are ejected into the air when a mushroom reaches the reproductive stage. These microscopic spores are carried by the wind and deposited on the soil, old stumps and trees. If conditions are favorable for growth, the spore begins to grow until it encounters another spore suitable for mating.
Role in the environment: The oyster mushroom is frequently used world wide as a delicacy. It is served on its own, in soups, stuffed, or in stir-fry recipes with soy sauce. Oyster mushrooms are sometimes made into a sauce used in Asian cooking. The oyster mushroom is best when picked young. As the mushroom ages, the flesh becomes tough and the flavor becomes acrid and unpleasant.
Photo source : http/www. botit.botany.wisc.edu