Panus conchatus (Bull.) Fr. - Lilac Oysterling

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Polyporales - Family: Polyporaceae

Panus conchatus, England

Panus is a small genus of tough wood-rotting fungi whose fruitbodies are usually purple tinged when young and fresh; they grow rather like oyster mushrooms or Split Gill fungi, with a very short eccentric stem, wavy margins, and shallowish gills that fork.

Distribution

Panus conchatus occurs on dead deciduous hardwood in northern and central Europe. This species is also recorded in parts of North America.

Panus conchatus, UK

Taxonomic history

Despite having gills, fungi in the genus Panus are now thought to be much more closely related to the Polypores than to the Agaricales - another example of parallel evolution. (Oyster mushrooms of the Pleurotus genus are, in contrast, - Classified in the order Agaricales.) French mycologist Jean Baptiste Francois (Pierre) Bulliard described and named this species in 1787, giving it the scientific name Agaricus conchatus.

Synonyms of Panus conchatus include Agaricus conchatus (Bull.), Lentinus torulosus (Pers.) Lloyd, Panus torulosus (Pers.) Fr., and Lentinus conchatus (Bull.) J. Schrot.

Etymology

Panus, the genus name, probably comes from Greek and means a swelling or tumour (a growth, therefore). The specific epithet conchatus comes from Latin and means 'shell-like'.

Identification guide

Cap of Panus conchatus

Cap

Usually semi-circular or oyster-shaped, caps are 5 to 15cm across, developing wavy inrolled margins; dry; smooth or very finely downy; reddish to purplish-brown when young, fading to tan with age.

Stem

Nearly always eccentrically attached, 2-5 cm longand 1.5-3 cm across; paler than the cap; downy or finely hairy when young.

Gills of Panus conchatus

Gills

Crowded, forking, pale mauve or pale purple when young and fresh, turning paler and later browning with age; decurrent to the stem.

Pleurocystidia, Panus conchatus

Pleurocystidia

Inflated towards tip (clavate) or more centrally (ventricose); occasionally capitate, 35-45 x 8-11µm. Cheilocystidia are similar.

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Spore, Panus conchatus

Spores

Ellipsoidal, smooth, 5-7 x 2.5-3.5µm; inamyloid.

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Spore print

White or very pale yellow.

Odour/taste

Not distinctive.

Habitat & Ecological role

Restricted to dead wood, mainly hardwoods but occasionally conifers - usually on fallen trunks and branches, particularly oaks.

Season

Autumn.

Similar species

Panrus rudis is similar but fuzzy rather than scaly, and its spores are slightly shorter and broader (a lower Q value); it is found in southern European countries.

Culinary Notes

This species is not generally considered edible, and we have no information about whether it contains toxins.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2016.

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi and (for basidiomycetes) on Kew's Checklist of the British & Irish Basidiomycota.

Acknowledgements

This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Simon Harding.

Other web pages about this species

Michael Kuo (USA)

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