What You Should Know
Panus conchatus has a smooth, lilac- or tan-colored cap, and decurrent gills. The fungus is saprophytic and fruits on the decomposing wood of a wide variety of deciduous and coniferous trees. Despite being a gilled species, phylogenetic analysis has shown it is closely related to the pored species found in the family Polyporaceae.
This mushroom is believed to be non-toxic and sometimes eaten when young. However not recommended for consumption due to its tough and leathery texture.
Panus conchatus contains a laccase, a polyphenol oxidase enzyme. These enzymes have potential in industrial applications for pulp bleaching, wastewater treatment in mills, and removal of phenolic compounds in the food industry. Most laccases have an active site containing four copper molecules, and are known as blue copper phenol oxidases. P. conchatus, however, contains a white laccase that lacks the typical blue copper color. The crudely purified enzyme has been used for pulp bleaching and wastewater decoloration in experimental studies.
Other names: Lilac Oysterling.
Panus conchatus Mushroom Identification
Saprobic; growing alone or, more frequently, gregariously to clustered, on decaying hardwood sticks and logs; spring through fall, and overwinter in warm climates; widely distributed in North America but absent or rare in the southern Rocky Mountains.
4–12 cm wide; broadly convex at first, but soon developing a central depression or becoming deeply vase-shaped; dry; bald or minutely fuzzy but not prominently hairy; often radially wrinkled; purplish to purplish brown when young, becoming brown to tan or whitish in age but often retaining a purplish margin; often developing concentric zones of color; the colors often breaking up into patches with maturity; the margin inrolled at first, later sometimes becoming scalloped or lobed in places, and faintly lined.
Running down the stem; close or nearly distant; often forking; short-gills frequent; whitish to yellowish or purplish when fresh and young; becoming pale brownish.
2–8 cm long; 1–1.5 cm wide; tough; often off-center or lateral; equal, or slightly enlarged toward the base; dry; hairy when young, especially toward the base; colored like the cap or paler; basal mycelium white.
Whitish; very tough; unchanging when sliced.
Odor and Taste
KOH on cap surface negative to slowly greenish-yellow.
White or very pale yellow.
Spores 4.5–6.5 x 2.5–4 µm; ellipsoid to subcylindric; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 4-spored. Cheilocystidia 30–50 x 5–7.5 µm; widely cylindric to subclavate or slightly irregular; smooth; thin-walled; hyaline in KOH. Pleurocystidia 25–60 x 5–10 µm; cylindric to widely cylindric, subclavate, or subfusiform; smooth; developing walls up to 2 µm thick; hyaline in KOH. Pileipellis a cutis; elements 2.5–5 µm wide, smooth or very slightly encrusted, clamped at septa, hyaline to brownish in KOH.
Lentinus strigosus has a conspicuously hairy, reddish-brown cap, sometimes with purple tones when young, but is rare in our area.
Panus conchatus Taxonomy and Etymology
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.
Panus, the genus name probably comes from Greek and means a swelling or tumor (a growth, therefore). The specific epithet conchatus comes from Latin and means 'shell-like'.
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