Submitted by Jeff Buster on Thu, 01/22/2009 - 16:52.
fungus underside structureOyster Fungus (pleurotus ostreatus)

This Realneo banner is a close up (the ribs/gills in the photo actually scale i about 4 inches long) photo of the underside “gills” of what I believe is an Oyster Fungus (pleurotus ostreatus).   The fungus grew  on a piece of firewood in Cleveland, Ohio - under a black plastic tarp which kept the fungus out of the rain.  I believe this particular fungus was growing for more than a year on  tulip tree wood. 

It is interesting that the growing morphology of the Oyster Fungus is very similar to the  coral in the upper right hand of this photo.  The coral, however, relies on the sun for its growth, where the fungus is chemosynthetic.  So – same growth form, but not for the same reason.

There are also types of coral which have the exact same “gill” structure which the underside of the Oyster fungus has.  But in coral  the “gills” face up towards the sunlight, and in the fungus the “gills” face down on the underside of the fungus cap.   Here is a photo of the lobed leather coral which shows the upwardly facing “gills”.  I have also seen (in the Caribbean) coral which have (upwardly facing) almost exactly the same radiating “gills” as the underside of this Oyster fungus, but I could not find an example in my quick search of Google images.

Is the morphological similarity of these the Oyster fungus with certain types of coral an evolutionary dna throwback?   Or just random.

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I was hoping those were mushroom gills and not stacks of wrinkly paper.

They look pretty nice. Did you try (eat) them? Is the pile still out there, and covered?

Check out Coral Mushrooms, too...


  Is an appropriate topic for our header.  I wish that we had a better way of controlling our biology to avoid the imbalance of fungus among us :)

any analogy you wish

Fungi feed on organic materials, breaking down and recycling detritus which would otherwise overwhelm the earth. Along the way they produce powerful anti-bacterials (against their competitors) and create beautful forms from old 'stuff.'

Nature's Internet

Sudhir posted about mushrooms and Paul Stamets twice last year: Lead Contaminated Soil and Revisiting an old concept - adding a mushroom module to the Sustainable Living Machine) -- but let me bring Stamets up again, and point to his TED Talk: 6 ways mushrooms can save the world.

Some mind-opening stuff on the ubiquity and importance of this sentient (he argues) vast mycelial network just under the top layer of soil.

It convinced me to finally try my hand at growing Shiitakes -- I bought an inoculated block from Fungi Perfecti, and to read his book, Mycelium Running...


Fun gus....sorry, but it still itches :)  Let's just go back to asking for accountability.  Is it too much to ask?  Are we harpies for wanting a city that works for its residents?

Eh? Say this, don't say that?

Fungi predate us, and will likely outlast us.

I choose their side of the argument.