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Hohenbuehelia grisea

Common Name: Brown Leaflike Oyster

Synonyms: Hohenbuehelia atrocaerulea var. grisea, H. atrocaerulea

Substrate: Downed Logs or on Ground

Location: Hardwood Forests

Spore Color: White

Gill Color: White to Yellowish Near Base

Comments: 

Most of the differentiation of species within field guides of Hohenbuehelia start with the color of the mushroom. Is it brownish, grayish, pinkish, blue-tones, ect.  Bessette (1997) describes H. atrocaerulea as "bluish gray to bluish black, sometimes olivaceous to brownish." With the variation, two varieties are separated out by Thorn and Baron (1986). These are H. atrocaerulea var. grisea and H. atrocaerulea var. atrocaerulea. H. atro var. atro is consistently darker and often has bluish shades. H. atro var. grisea is blackish to dark brown to tan, and is much more common. Index fungorum lists the more correct name as H. grisea, so that is what I am sticking with. The name game can be confusing at times. 

Aside from the color, look for a fairly fragile fruitbody, that has narrowly spaced gills. That combined with a growth habit on downed wood should point towards Hohenbuehelia.

Lookalikes:  

H. petaloides is often lighter in color and grows from woody debris or the ground, while H. grisea grows from downed wood directly. H. mastrucatus is usually mouse-gray and has gelatinous reticulation. H. angustatus has a pake pink to pinkish buff cap. Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.) are larger and have a thicker flesh.

Pictures:

Hohenbuehelia grisea

Color without camera flash

Hohenbuehelia grisea

Color with camera flash

Hohenbuehelia grisea

Hohenbuehelia grisea

Color correct specimen

8/10/12 - Yellowood State Forest - Brown County, IN