Spore Mass: White.
Habitat: Grows on dead logs and prefers aspens.
Edibility: Edible and very good!
Comments: The Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus populinus) is a great beginner mushroom because it is fairly easy to identify and has a distinct smell. When fried it smells similar to seafood, thus the name 'Oyster Mushroom'. It is one of the few mushrooms that can be found just about any time of the year from spring to fall. It is also easily culitvated and will grow on just about any substrate including hardwood sawdust, coffee grounds, and even old textbooks! It is easily confused with Pleurotus ostreatus, which is usually a bit darker in color and found on other hardwoods besides aspen (it is also edible). This mushroom is a saprophyte, meaning that it grows on dead wood and not live trees. It's best found in early spring before the bugs / maggots infest the flesh. It is usually found in small or massive clumps on dead trees. It is distinguied by a unique smell, gills that run all the way down the stem, and a stem which is short, off center, or absent. The flesh tends to be a bit tougher than most mushrooms, which makes it a great mushroom for canning (it makes a great Postich! - See my Recipes page.)