Last week we could smell the tell-tale odor of oyster fungi (Pluerotus ostreatus) in our woods. Then, just a few days ago, they started fruiting in large clumps. Looks to be a good year for them on our dead and dying aspen trees.
The Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus ostriatus, is beginning to fruit in earnest. We picked a couple clumps on aspen snags this morning. The caps came with a compliment of Pleasing Fungus Beetles which will need to be turned out by a brief immersion in water before preparing these delicious fungi for the table. As always, the anise-like odor of these mushrooms was potent and pleasant. The air of the surrounding woods was lightly touched with that scent.
Walks with the dogs offer a chance to survey the surrounding woodlands. Today, we found some spring-inspired Oysters, Pleurotis ostreatus. The group of caps were pushing out from behind the bark of an Aspen log. It was a very young fruiting with 2 inch caps and fresh white gills. There were none of the black-bodied, red-headed Pleasing Fungus Beetles that inevitably are found in large, fully developed Oyster Caps. In spite of their small size the mushrooms gave off that strong anise scent typical of the species.
There were reports of Oyster fruitings in the Minocqua area as well as note of a large troop of Alcohol Inkys, Coprinus atromentarius.
Cora Mollen, author of Fascinating Fungi of the Northwoods and founder of Northstate Mycological Club.