Pink oyster mushrooms are found growing in tree trunks all over the world, forming dense clusters of a delightful pink tone. Yet, not many people know that they are unusually beneficial for human health, providing unique nutritional values.
While not much information is available about this species, we’ve done our best to gather everything that could be useful for you. Read on to learn about the history, health benefits, and general facts of pink oyster mushrooms.
Pink oyster mushrooms, scientifically known as Pleurotus djamor (P. djamor), are a species of tropical mushroom found worldwide. It usually grows on trees, forming dense clusters of a vivid pink color that vary in size, shape, and number of mushrooms.
The Pleurotus genus is among the most common and widespread edible fungi in the world. People often describe pink oyster mushrooms’ taste as similar to bacon, with a noticeable umami taste and meaty texture. Just a heads up, though: if you plan on trying these mushrooms raw, be prepared for a sour surprise.
Pleutorus djamor is an excellent addition to any diet—experts suggest that, like most mushrooms, it’s high in protein, carbohydrates, and several essential micronutrients. P. djamor is also low in fat, making it the ideal choice for anyone looking after their physical shape (1).
P. djamor is mostly similar to other Pleorutus species. It has an elongated, slightly convex cap and a barely-visible small stem that gives it its famous “oyster” nickname. The cap often flattens as the mushroom ages.
What makes it different from other types of oyster mushrooms is its color. P. djamor’s cap and gills are usually pink, catching the eye of anyone who hasn’t seen them before. However, experts claim that this color varies according to several factors, such as age, light conditions, and strain. For example, older mushrooms may have a paler color closer to beige or cream.
Weirdly enough, the color of P. djamor sometimes seems to vary without much explanation. Research claims that different color schemes often arise in enclosed fruiting environments where no external spores are added (2).
Despite what many people believe, P. djamor isn’t a variety of traditional oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Rather, it’s classified as its own species among the Pleurotus genus—a biology classification that groups similar species together.
This confusion often leads to P. djamor being mislabeled simply as an “oyster mushroom.” While most Pleurotus species can be used interchangeably in recipes, you may want to pay extra attention if you’re specifically looking for pink oyster mushrooms.
There isn’t a consensus among the mycological community regarding the details of P. djamor’s taxonomy. For example, some scientists believe there are six possible P. djamor varieties, depending on each specimen’s color, microscopic appearance, and habitat. Other mycologists, instead, affirm that these differences aren’t enough to classify them as varieties (1) (3).
In any case, don’t worry—no evidence suggests differences in nutritional or culinary values between the possible varieties.
Although P. djamor has probably existed for thousands of years on most continents, there isn’t any evidence of ancient cultures using it. Yet, a 2023 study suggests that some Pleurotus species may have been present in the diet of Ancient Egyptians (4).
In fact, researchers affirm that fungi were considered a delicacy in Ancient Egypt—their consumption was prohibited for all people except Egyptian nobility. Oddly enough, Pleurotus species, along with Agaricus bisporus (button mushroom), are among the most common fungi in Egypt.
As such, it wouldn’t be crazy to think that some privileged Ancient Egyptians ate pink oyster mushrooms, but more evidence is needed to fully confirm this.
The modern history of P. djamor starts in 1838 when renowned Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries first described this species. Initially, he classified it under the Lentinus genus—this was later corrected in 1981 by Edred Corner, who placed it under the Pleurotus genus (2).
However, after that, the history of pink oyster mushrooms becomes chaotic and hard to follow, with synonyms, varieties, and reclassifications coming and going. Most experts agree that the species needs further study due to lacking general consensus.
As for its culinary history, Pleurotus mushrooms came into the global spotlight during World War I, when researchers developed its cultivation techniques in search of new food sources (5). Since then, it has become a common product in farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and supermarkets worldwide. Who knew fungi could have such a glamorous career?
Pink oyster mushrooms form part of what’s called “functional mushrooms”—fungi that offer health and nutritional benefits. While many species fit this bill, P. djamor is almost unparalleled regarding the number of benefits it provides.
Nutritionally, experts estimate that P. djamor is composed of between 32%–48% carbohydrates and 20%–27% protein. It’s also significantly low in fat and provides several vitamins and minerals, including (1):
Pink mushrooms are strongly recommended for people looking to implement a healthy, nutrient-packed addition to their diet. Similarly, it’s a fantastic alternative to meat due to its bacon-like taste and meaty consistency.
Where P. djamor really shines is in its health benefits. Several studies have shown that this mushroom contains antibiotic, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties, among many others.
For example, a 2022 study tested P. djamor’s mycelium (the network connecting different mushrooms under the substrate) against several bacterial and fungal pathogens. Researchers found that certain compounds in P. djamor could inhibit the pathogens with a 55% efficacy (6).
A similar 2017 paper tested the same idea but with a focus on human pathogens. The authors affirm that P. djamor could significantly impact common negative organisms such as Vibrio cholera, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas putida (7).
Another study proved that P. djamor could help remit kidney injury through its antioxidants. In the same paper, scientists point out that the Pleurotus genus as a whole has significant anti-aging and hypoglycemic properties (8).
Indeed, P. djamor is a marvelous species with dozens of health benefits. Some of the many properties of this mushroom include:
However, it’s important to note that nearly every study calls for more research on the subject. As such, it’s not recommended to take P. djamor for medicinal purposes without checking with a doctor first.
P. djamor is a pan-tropical species, meaning that it grows everywhere in the world where there’s a tropical climate. Notable examples of countries with these climates include Brazil, Malaysia, Peru, and Argentina.
This species strongly prefers growing on hardwood trees, such as palms, rubber trees, and bamboo. There, it forms dense clusters that vary in size, shape, and amount of mushrooms. Pink oyster mushrooms can also grow on other substrates, including cereal straws, sawdust, and coffee grounds (2).
Many people consider P. djamor an easy species to pick due to its vibrant color, making it a top choice among enthusiast foragers. While this may be true to some extent, you should always consider a few guidelines before harvesting these mushrooms for yourself.
Ethical wildcrafting refers to harvesting resources from the environment with specific ecological considerations. Many people confuse wildcrafting with foraging—the key difference is that wildcrafting refers to harvesting for medicinal purposes instead of for eating.
Although P. djamor isn’t endangered, keeping ethical picking practices can help ensure the well-being of this species in your area. These include:
Ethical wildcrafting is a fantastic way to connect with nature and give back some of what you’re taking. If you are a new wildcrafter, we recommend finding a local harvesting group that can teach you the ethics of this practice.
Luckily, there aren’t any known poisonous lookalikes for P. djamor. Still, this doesn’t mean that harvesting P. djamor in the wild is a safe practice.
Wild mushrooms can contain several harmful pathogens that can result in heavy cases of food poisoning. As such, it’s best to avoid eating wildcrafted P. djamor. If you still want to consume them, make sure you cook them thoroughly.
It’s also important to know that P. djamor isn’t a long-lasting mushroom. Once picked, experts estimate that it has a shelf life of 4–5 days. If you’ve eaten wild mushrooms and feel unwell, contact a medical provider as soon as possible.
There isn’t a specific way to eat P. djamor. Most people use them as a replacement in oyster mushroom recipes that call for other species, but you can also add them to other meals to improve your nutrient balance.
Some people like raw pink oyster mushrooms—but most agree that the taste is too sour. If you want to try them without cooking, don’t use wild P. djamor. Instead, only use store-bought mushrooms that have gone through proper sterilization.
As for how to cook pink oyster mushrooms, the possibilities are endless. You could stir-fry them to get a crispy texture or roast them in the oven for a straightforward side to any meal. Sautéed P. djamor is also a popular option—just throw them into a pan with some olive oil and vegetables (maybe some shiitakes as well?), and enjoy a delicious, meat-free meal.
Pink oyster mushrooms are a species of oyster fungi found all over the world. Known for their unique pink colors, they are a great addition to any diet due to their incredible nutritional value and numerous health benefits. Plus, due to their meaty texture and bacon-like taste, they can replace any kind of meat.
If you want to find out about other types of mushrooms, make sure to keep up with all the info in shroomer. Here, you’ll find all the details you need about psychedelic and functional fungi from all over the world, along with the latest news on medicinal research on edible mushrooms.