Sunday, May 8, 2011

Little Brown Mushroom #3

A cluster of brown mushrooms I found sprouting between the brick edging at my in-law's house.

I think they are oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp).  Oyster mushrooms are usually big mushrooms growing on rotting trees.  And they are often white or gray.  Growing between bricks on the ground is an unusual location.  There must be some rotting wood underneath the bricks.  Oyster mushrooms are edible and cultivated and sold in grocery stores.  Oyster mushrooms don't usually grow in the spring, so maybe these are leftover from last year (they certainly don't look fresh).

One interesting thing about oyster mushrooms is that their hyphae can digest nematods and bacteria.  An unusual feeding strategy for a fungus that normally "feeds" on the cellulose of rotting wood?  Maybe not, considering the many fungi that are parasites or pathogens.  I wonder what other unusual ways the many and less studied little, brown mushrooms of the world get their nutrition.