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Pleurotus pulmonarius

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Pleurotus pulmonarius
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Pleurotaceae
Genus: Pleurotus
P. pulmonarius
Binomial name
Pleurotus pulmonarius
(Fr.) Quél. (1872)
Pleurotus pulmonarius
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Gills on hymenium
Cap is offset or convex
Hymenium is decurrent
Stipe is bare
Spore print is white
Ecology is saprotrophic
Edibility is choice

Pleurotus pulmonarius, commonly known as the Indian oyster, Italian oyster, phoenix mushroom, or the lung oyster, is a mushroom very similar to Pleurotus ostreatus, the pearl oyster, but with a few noticeable differences. The caps of pulmonarius are much paler and smaller than ostreatus and develops more of a stem. P. pulmonarius also prefers warmer weather than ostreatus and will appear later in the summer. Otherwise, the taste and cultivation of the two species is generally described as largely the same.[1] Another similar species, North America's Pleurotus populinus, is restricted to growing on aspen and cottonwood.

Natural habitat[edit]

Pleurotus pulmonarius is widespread in temperate and subtropical forests throughout the world. In the eastern United States, this species is generally found on hardwoods while in the west it is commonly found on conifers.[1]


  • 1821 First published as Agaricus pulmonarius by Fr.
  • 1975 Disambiguated from Pleurotus sajor-caju by Pegler


  • Pileus: 5 — 20+ cm, convex, becoming broadly convex to flat; fruit bodies may yellow with age[2]
  • Gills: Whitish; decurrent if stipe is present; small beetles may be present[2]
  • Spore print: White to yellowish
  • Stipe: If present, short and offset from the center of the cap, with a hairy base[2]
  • Microscopic features: Spores white to yellowish to lavender-gray when dense, more or less cylindrical, 7.5–11 × 3–4 μm.[1]
  • Odour: Pleasant, like anise[2]


Pleurotus pulmonarius is the most cultivated oyster mushroom (Pleurotus) species in Europe and North America. The most popular varieties for cultivation are the warm weather varieties, often marketed by spawn manufacturers and cultivators under the incorrect name "Pleurotus sajor-caju". The real Pleurotus sajor-caju (Fr.) Singer is in fact a separate species of mushroom, which was returned to the genus Lentinus by Pegler (1975), and is now called Lentinus sajor-caju (Fr.) Fries.[1]

Pleurotus pulmonarius is commercially cultivated in New Zealand,[3] and is sometimes sold as "Oyster mushrooms".[4] The archetypal oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus, cannot be imported into New Zealand due to perceived risks to their forestry industry.[5]

The cultivation of Pleurotus pulmonarius is very similar to how one would cultivate other types of Pleurotus species like P. ostreatus by transferring mycelium from a petri plate onto grain and then transferring the grain spawn after the mycelium colonizes it to substrates of straw, wood chips, sawdust, cardboard, coffee grounds, and other cellulose-based substrates.

Medical research[edit]

Several studies done on animals and in vitro suggest P. pulmonarius and its extracts may have possible medicinal applications for a wide range of conditions.

A polysaccharide called β-D-Glucan from P. pulmonarius reduces sensitivity to pain in mice,[6] and could be an "attractive" basis for new analgesic medications.[7] In a different study on mice, a glucan from P. pulmonarius showed potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.[8] A methanol extract of P. pulmonarius displayed anti-inflammatory and antitumor activity comparable to the standard reference drugs diclofenac and cisplatin, respectively.[9]

A 2010 study concluded that extracts of P. pulmonarius may slow the proliferation of cancer cells with high galectin-3 levels, while at the same time downregulate tumour cell adherence – which is directly related to the progression and spread of cancer.[10] Extracts of P. pulmonarius added to the diet of mice delayed carcinogenesis, suggesting that these extracts may be useful as an adjuvant to cancer therapies.[11]

An orally administered hot water extract of P. pulmonarius had a significant antihyperglycemic effect, halted the progression of diabetes, and reduced the mortality of alloxan induced diabetic mice by approximately 50%. It showed a synergistic effect with the antidiabetic drug glibenclamide, supporting the possibility of effective combination therapy of glibenclamide and P. pulmonarius for diabetes.[12]

Pleurotus pulmonarius may be effective in the treatment of hay fever by inhibiting the release of histamine. Powdered P. pulmonarius mushrooms caused a significant reduction in sneezing and nasal rubbing when fed in water to sensitized mice, although the effect gradually builds up over a matter of weeks. When they were given 500 mg/kg a day, a significant effect was observed after two weeks, and it was four weeks before a significant change was observed at 200 mg/kg.[13]

Extracts of P. pulmonarius attenuated the development of acute colitis in a mouse model, suggesting a possible clinical use in the treatment of colitis.[14] A further study by the same authors concluded that the extracts also inhibit colon cancer formation associated with colitis in mice.[15]

Extracts of P. pulmonarius have antimicrobial properties and exhibit antioxidant activity in vitro.[16]

Similar species[edit]

Pleurotus ostreatus is very similar, as is North America's Pleurotus populinus, which is restricted to growing on aspen and cottonwood (genus Populus).[2] It may resemble a clitocybe, some of which are poisonous, when growing on the top of wood.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Stamets, Paul (2000). "Chapter 21: Growth Parameters for Gourmet and Medicinal Mushroom Species". Growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms = [Shokuyo oyobi yakuyo kinoko no sabai] (3rd ed.). Berkeley, California, USA: Ten Speed Press. pp. 316–320. ISBN 978-1-58008-175-7.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Trudell, S.; Ammirati, J. (2009). Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest. Timber Press Field Guides. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press. pp. 134–5, 137. ISBN 978-0-88192-935-5.
  3. ^ "Pleurotus". Fungal Guide. New Zealand: Landcare Research. Pleurotus pulmonarius. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Mytopia Mushrooms Products". Havelock North, New Zealand: Mytopia Mushrooms. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  5. ^ Hall, Ian R. (April 2010). "Growing mushrooms: the commercial reality" (PDF). Lifestyle Farmer. Auckland, New Zealand: Rural Press: 42–45. Retrieved 26 January 2012. ... the grey oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) cannot be imported into New Zealand because it could pose a risk to our forest industry.
  6. ^ Baggio, Cristiane Hatsuko; Freitas, Cristina Setim; Martins, Daniel Fernandes; Mazzardo, Leidiane; Smiderle, Fhernanda Ribeiro; Sassaki, Guilherme Lanzi; Iacomini, Marcello; Marques, Maria Consuelo Andrade; Santos, Adair Roberto Soares (October 2010). "Antinociceptive Effects of (1→3),(1→6)-Linked β-Glucan Isolated From Pleurotus pulmonarius in Models of Acute and Neuropathic Pain in Mice: Evidence for a Role for Glutamatergic Receptors and Cytokine Pathways". The Journal of Pain. 11 (10): 965–971. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2010.01.005. PMID 20418177.
  7. ^ Baggio, Cristiane Hatsuko; Freitas, Cristina Setim; Marcon, Rodrigo; Werner, Maria Fernanda de Paula; Rae, Giles Alexander; Smiderle, Fhernanda Ribeiro; Sassaki, Guilherme Lanzi; Iacomini, Marcello; Marques, Maria Consuelo Andrade & Santos, Adair Roberto Soares (2011). "Antinociception of β-D-glucan from Pleurotus pulmonarius is possibly related to protein kinase C inhibition". International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 50 (3): 872–7. doi:10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2011.10.023. PMID 22085751.
  8. ^ Smiderle, Fhernanda R.; Olsen, Lorena M.; Carbonero, Elaine R.; Baggio, Cristiane H.; Freitas, Cristina S.; Marcon, Rodrigo; Santos, Adair R.S.; Gorin, Philip A.J.; Iacomini, Marcello (November 12, 2008). "Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties in a rodent model of a (1→3),(1→6)-linked β-glucan isolated from Pleurotus pulmonarius". European Journal of Pharmacology. 597 (1–3): 86–91. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2008.08.028. PMID 18789924.
  9. ^ Jose, Nayana; Ajith, T. A.; Janardhanan, Kainoor K. (2002). "Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, and Antitumor Activities of Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom Pleurotus pulmonarius (Fr.) Quél. (Agaricomycetideae)". International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 4 (4): 329–335. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushr.v4.i4.60.
  10. ^ Lavi, Iris; Levinson, Dana; Peri, Irena; Tekoah, Yoram; Hadar, Yitzhak; Schwartz, Betty (February 2010). "Chemical characterization, antiproliferative and antiadhesive properties of polysaccharides extracted from Pleurotus pulmonarius mycelium and fruiting bodies". Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 85 (6): 1977–1990. doi:10.1007/s00253-009-2296-x. PMID 19830415. S2CID 19238232.
  11. ^ Wasonga, Caralyne G.O.; Okoth, Sheila A.; Mukuria, Joseph C.; Omwandho, Charles O.A. (2008). "Mushroom polysaccharide extracts delay progression of carcinogenesis in mice" (PDF). Journal of Experimental Therapeutics and Oncology. 7 (2): 147–152. PMID 18771088. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03.
  12. ^ Badole, Sachin L.; Patel, Naimesh M.; Thakurdesai, Prasad A.; Bodhankar, Subhash L. (June 2008). "Interaction of Aqueous Extract of Pleurotus pulmonarius (Fr.) Quel-Champ. with Glyburide in Alloxan Induced Diabetic Mice". Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 5 (2): 159–164. doi:10.1093/ecam/nem010. PMC 2396481. PMID 18604261.
  13. ^ Yatsuzuka, Rie; Nakano, Yoshiyuki; Jiang, Shuishi; Ueda, Yuhki; Kishi, Yuko; Suzuki, Yuh; Yokota, Emiko; Rahman, Ashequr; Ono, Rie Kohno, Isato; Kamei, Chiaki (2007). "Effect of Usuhiratake (Pleurotus pulmonarius) on Sneezing and Nasal Rubbing in BALB/c Mice". Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 30 (8): 1557–1560. doi:10.1248/bpb.30.1557. ISSN 1347-5215. PMID 17666820. Print ISSN: 0918-6158.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Lavi, Iris; Levinson, Dana; Peri, Irena; Nimri, Lili; Hadar, Yitzhak; Schwartz, Betty (February 2010). "Orally administered glucans from the edible mushroom Pleurotus pulmonarius reduce acute inflammation in dextran sulfate sodium-induced experimental colitis". British Journal of Nutrition. 103 (3): 393–402. doi:10.1017/S0007114509991760. PMID 19772681.
  15. ^ Lavi, Iris; Nimri, Lili; Levinson, Dana; Peri, Irena; Hadar, Yitzhak; Schwartz, Betty (December 21, 2011). "Glucans from the edible mushroom Pleurotus pulmonarius inhibit colitis-associated colon carcinogenesis in mice". Journal of Gastroenterology. 47 (5): 504–18. doi:10.1007/s00535-011-0514-7. PMID 22187166. S2CID 23013924.
  16. ^ Ramesh, Ch.; Pattar, Manohar G (March–April 2010). "Antimicrobial properties, antioxidant activity and bioactive compounds from six wild edible mushrooms of western ghats of Karnataka, India". Pharmacognosy Research. 2 (2): 107–112. doi:10.4103/0974-8490.62953. PMC 3140106. PMID 21808550.

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