Wild Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms on trunk of dead balsam polar.
Oyster mushrooms on trunk of dead balsam polar.

On June 18th in the afternoon after the big frost that settled over my gardens I was out walking in the woods with my camera. There is a small grove of small quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) and balsam poplars (P. balsaminifera) on moist soil at the edge of the woods. I cut trees from this grove and feed the branches to my sheep who relish these treats. Cutting down the trees won’t hurt the grove. When an aspen or poplar tree is cut the roots are stimulated to sprout new replacement shoots. Some of the balsam poplars have died and it was on one of these that I found a colony of oyster mushrooms (Pleurotis sp). I went back several days later and saw more dead balsam poplar trees sprouting bunches of oyster mushrooms. I am not absolutely certain of the identity of the species but think it may be Pleurotus populinus. On my day off this week I am planning a hike to the western third of my property (a nice half mile trek through a sedge marsh and shrub swamp) where there are many more aspen trees and hope to find oyster mushrooms and other interesting fungi.

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