Osyters and Oysterlings

John C . writes:

About a month ago after an afternoon birdwatching in the hides at Pit 60 in Standlake we found a group of interesting looking mushrooms on a dead tree.

It was nearly dark but the photograph was enough to identify them as a species of Oyster mushroom, though not enough to know whether or not they were an edible variety. Interestingly, a few weeks earlier the same tree had been host to a very large clump of Dryad’s Saddle but they had completely vanished.

Today, as always on Boxing Day, we walked from Witney via Crawley to Minster Lovell. Apart from the flash of a Kingfisher near Crawley bridge there was not a lot to see except some very delicate fungi, about half to three quarters of an inch across growing on some fallen twigs by the side of a track near the water meadows at Crawley. We later identified them as a species of Oysterling, probably Variable Oysterling.

Variable oysterling, Crawley, December 2021.

Whilst Oyster mushrooms and Oysterlings don’t seem to be closely related, they share the characteristics that they are both stemless and grow on dead wood. Whilst Oyster mushrooms are said to be good to eat, the edibilty of Oysterlings is doubtful; in any case they are really too small to bother with!