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Found this mushroom today while hiking here in Mississippi. it was completely frozen. I think it might be in the genus pleurotus, maybe p. Dryinus what do y'all think?

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I am not sure. I might try and find out later today. I think it is likely an oak considering the location I found it in. I am still not to savvy on tree identification. I can recognize trees on a basic level. Like I can say, "oh that is a pine, or that that is oak", but not much beyond that.. Do know any websites or other resources that can help me improve my tree identification skills? And I was curious about edibility of this species, especially when frozen. Will it still be good thawed out? Should I take any other precautions like taking a spore print?

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Well, deciding to consume a wild mushroom is the responsibility of the person who possesses to mushroom. But, I will say that P. dryinus is considered to be an edible species. I have eaten this type mushroom; it's a bit tougher/chewier than other types of Pleurotus, but flavor is okay. Will the fact that the mushroom froze in-situ affect the quality? Difficult to say. I think with other species of Pleurotus freezing/thawing would negatively affect the texture (and perhaps the flavor?). P. dryinus is a fairly hardy type; flesh is thick and somewhat denser than other Pleurotus.

I agree that it's a good idea to carefully examine a type of mushroom (that is new to you) before consuming that type of mushroom. Sometimes an initial collection or two is best used to learn to confidently recognize that type mushroom. Spore print color is one trait that is sometimes useful. For example, if you collect a gilled mushroom that grows in shelf-like patterns on wood --similar to Pleurotus-- and the mushroom produces a brown spore print, then you can be quite confident that your mushroom represents genus Crepidotus and not Pleurotus. On the other hand, Pleurocybella porrigens is quite similar to Pleurotus pulmonarius and each species has a pale (possible white) spore print. Under a microscope Pleurotus and Pleurocybella have differently shaped spores. 

The mushroom seen here represents neither genus Crepidotus nor genus Pleurocybella. Just pointing out that one can take mushroom identification to a pretty deep level. 

There are a variety of field guides one may use for tree ID. Eg. the Audubon guide. It's also likely there is some type of guide that is focused upon trees in your locale.

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  • 3 weeks later...

When learning to identify deciduous trees, pay particular attention to what the bark looks like, as you don’t always have leaves. Branching, alternate vs. opposite is also important.  Opposite branching will get you down to only a couple genus, with maples being one. 
 

I’m to the point that I look at those two things first in making my identification.   But in all fairness, I will admit that I studied forestry many years ago.

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