I was interested to note recently that many people do not realize that there are several species and dozens of sub-varieties of oyster. Most seem to just ask for oysters and leave it to chance. There are huge differences between oyster species in regards to flavour, availability and texture, and that is not taking into account for regional variations. Growing conditions and locale have a marked impact on the final flavour of oysters.


There are three main species of edible oyster, the Pacific, belon and rock oysters.

  • The Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) is also commonly known as the Japanese oyster, indicating the origin of this particular species. This oyster is widely cultivated in the Pacific region and Australia, but due to its fast growth habits it has been introduced to many areas around the globe. In some areas the species is considered a marine pest.

    Pacifics are a medium sized oyster and are harvested when they are between 50mm and 100mm. They possess a thin, roughly textured shell, which is cup shaped and flinty grey in colour. Pacific oysters have a forthright briny, iodine flavour. If you march into a fishmonger's shop and simply request oysters, this is the species you will most likely receive.

  • The belon oyster (Ostrea angasi) is also marketed as the flat, mud and angasi oyster. This species is native to the Mediterranean, with a sub-variety native to Australia. This is the highly esteemed Belon oyster of France.

    The belon is a large oyster with some reaching 150mm in size. It has a round and flat, flaky shell, with yellow tinges to the regular gunmetal oyster shell colour.

    Belon flesh has golden highlights to the edges and possesses a very clean and tannic seawater flavour. It is a very meaty oyster, with regards to not just its size, but big flavour as well.

  • The rock oyster (Saccostrea commercialis or occaisionally S. cucullata) is native to Southeast Asia and parts of Australia. It is also sold under the monikers Sydney rock and coral oyster.

    This is the smallest oyster of the three, but it possesses the biggest flavour. Rock oysters have a strong briny, oily flavour with a long aftertaste. They are harvested at a size between 40 and 80mm.

    These oysters have a thick smooth shell that is elongated and cup shaped. The flesh is creamy gold in colour, with occasional greenish highlights. In Australia if you simply order oysters, this is the species that you will (mostly) get.

  • History

    There is a long history of the human consumption of oysters, with the Celts, Romans and Greeks all being noted oyster lovers. The last leave evidence of cultivating oysters in beds. According to Larousse Gastronomique, Louis XIV's doctor recommended the consumption of oysters, albeit always cooked in their shells. I have personally visited shell middens in the Sydney basin where Kooris feasting on oysters over thousands of years have left a shell speckled imprint in the shoreline strata.

    Habitat and cultivation

    Oysters are bi-valve filter feeders and hence are susceptible to contamination through pollutants. In their native habitat, on rocks or in muddy mangroves this can be a serious problem, as it can be hard to gauge what has flowed past a wild oyster. These days almost all oysters are farmed on tiered or trellised beds that reside in tidal brackish waterways. This, in addition to the use of filtering tanks after harvest have greatly reduced the chance of eating contaminated oysters. However, there is always a minimal risk, so if you are in a high-risk group, pregnant, aged or infirm, it may serve you well to avoid raw oysters.

    Spawning and flavour

    Spawning has a marked impact on the flavour of all oyster varieties, as well as a reduction in size. Instead of tasting briny and zingy with seawater, spawning oysters will taste dull and flabby. Although oysters are considered a warm weather treat, it is mainly during the summer months that oysters spawn. Mid-summer can be the worst time to buy oysters, so it pays to ask your fishmonger for advice.

    Shell, shucked or bottled?

    Raw oysters are sold in three forms. Whole, or unshucked; on the half-shell, or shucked; and shucked, then bottled in brine, totally removed from the shell.

    I cannot stress enough the superior flavour of a freshly shucked oyster. If this means you have to shuck your own, then I recommend you go to the extra effort.

    Oysters attach themselves to the inside of the shell with the aid of a muscle, or foot as it is often called. Once an oyster is shucked and this muscle is severed, the oyster dies. You now have between 6 and 12 hours to enjoy a fresh oyster, as they deteriorate very rapidly once killed. In addition, all pre-shucked oysters are washed, then flipped in the shell to present the more attractive side of the oyster. This travesty robs you of the full pleasure of a fresh oyster; its iron laden, seawater juices.

    The type of oyster you buy will determine the best way to store them. Bottled oysters must be kept refrigerated and consumed well before the date on the bottle. Half shell oysters are best removed from their packaging, if any, then transferred to a plastic container that has been lined with a damp kitchen towel. Keep well wrapped and in the refrigerator. Try to use within 24 hours. Full shell live oysters are best stored in a damp hessian or burlap sack. Store them in a cool area, such as a cellar if you live in a cool climate for up to 4 days. If you live in a warm climate, store in the refrigerator. The cold will make the oysters open and eventually die, so they are best used within 2-3 days if you are using this method of storage.

    Serving oysters

    As far as cooking oysters goes, I have one word on the matter; don't. Oysters cook very rapidly and dry out to an unpalatable mess when over cooked. There are a couple of notable exceptions. Oysters quickly fried in a tempura batter, served with a ponzu and ginger sauce are sublime. Oysters Kilpatrick are a fun 70's nostalgia trip, but I would recommend using a hot grill or broiler, rather than an oven as the latter will overcook the oysters.

    You could try tea smoking oysters, and simonc mentions that placing whole, unshucked oysters into an open fire BBQ is a great method. I have never tried this, but as long as you removed the oysters just as they open, I imagine it would impart a delicious smoky element

    If a recipe asks for cream or cheese, avoid it. You will simply mask the oyster's flavour and may as well be eating something else.

    The best way to serve oysters is simply with lemon, freshly ground pepper and perhaps a few drops of Tabasco. Some French recipes ask for a dressing made from wine vinegar and enlivened with chopped shallots. There is a quirky, regional French dish that serves fresh oysters with baby chipolata sausages, this is offbeat, but delicious. I have also been topping freshly shucked oysters with a Thai nam jim dressing, and they are sensational.

    Oysters and wine

    To accompany oysters, the most traditional drink is sparkling wine or Champagne. Good quality sparkling wine has a real affinity with oysters and is a simple way to give festive feel to a dinner party. Another way of cutting the rich, oily taste of oysters is a young dry Riesling, as flinty as possible. Try any from Australia's Clare Valley, or a very dry, premium German Riesling.

    In Ireland, and around the world on St. Patrick's Day, it is considered de rigueur to wash down a plate of oysters with a pint of Guinness. Maybe try a black velvet for a celebratory variation.

    Oyster, the 1995 release by Heather Nova, ranks amongst my very favorite albums. My first experience listening to it was one of disconnected disappointment, as I had enjoyed the album's single, Walk This World, but began to realize that the album was going to demand more of me than I expected. For whatever reason, her sweet banshee voice (not an oxymoron if you listen closely) brought me back and made me sit down and really dig into the album. I realized it had to be listened to in order, starting with track one and moving forward, following her own pacing of the songs. They were setting me up, and in 1995, the crossroads my own life was facing made too many of the songs hit home.

    Heather Nova wrote all the music on the album, and it borders on following a single storyline. Is it her story or is it the work of observation? My own writing flirts between the two, so I saw no reason why hers could not. What follows are the tracks of this five star album and some of the lyric highlights and my own obtuse commentary. I highly recommend it.

    Walk This World

    You come into this album with a bang, and most people I knew who heard this song on the radio made much of the point that she chants I want you to come... repeatedly in the chorus. Well, the album is littered with both strong and underhanded sexual references that accentuate running themes. It is no mistake that the opening track is the one most obvious in doing this.

    And it's burning in our fingers and it's burning on the road
    And I like the way you're broken and I'll like you when you're old
    And I see you in the garden and I feel you plant the seed
    I want you to come walk this world with me

    This sets the stage for the rest of the album and the recurring themes play upon this verse in the opening track. You begin to wonder what really happened to Heather Nova when she spent all those years on that boat sailing around Bermuda.


    Thought of by many as the weakest link on the album, and definitely a come down after Walk This World. This is the point where you think you may have been had and that you're going to now be treated to an onslaught of sensitive guitar strumming girl music. The fact that Heather sometimes sounds like she is crying the lyrics of the song doesn't help the impression. Yet, in the context of the album, this is a key track. This is the calm before the storm. This is the reflection.

    And the sea glistens
    And the waves pull us in
    There's something rising up and up


    And now, back to our regularly scheduled program. The siren song that opens this track is annoying the first time you hear it, but haunting on further investigation. Unlike the first two tracks, this song puts a story in motion rather than play upon vague and easily re-translated concepts. There is no shortage of specifics that all too many can relate to.

    There are parts of me he'll never know,
    my wild horses and river beds,
    and in my throat voices he'll never hear.

    He pulls at me like a cherry tree,
    and I can still move but I don't speak about it.

    Pretend I'm crazy, pretend I'm dead.
    He's too scared to hit me now
    he'll bring flowers instead

    It may have just been me, since at the time of this album's release I was learning that a number of women I loved and cared about had suffered much abuse at the hands of trusted and close friends and family members. My childhood best friend had gone AWOL from the Army in order to exact revenge on his father for his systematic rape of his children by putting a gun in his mouth out in his father's backyard. There was so much information and I foolishly thought this album would offer some light escape.

    And I don't know why I can't tell my sister,
    He spat in my face again,
    and I don't want to die here.
    You know that dream when your feet won't move,
    you want to come but your body won't let you.
    He steals it from me.
    He steals it from me.
    It shines like sweat, like jewels, like something that has died too soon.
    He fucks with the beauty.
    A kiss, a kick, a kiss, a kick, a kiss kiss kick.
    He steals it from me.
    It's out of my hands again.

    Throwing Fire At The Sun

    The other single to be released from Oyster, this track packs the same kind of punch as the opening track. In the context of the album, it is the reaching out, the attempt to find kindred souls in the world outside. Yet it screams about the difficulty in connecting, the pain of disappointment and how it can be so much easier to hide away and not make those connections. The title is a metaphor for the experience of trying to connect and create something special in a world that doesn't seem to care. Love never changed anything in the world, or did it?

    If I listen there's something deeper that speaks.
    If we reach out maybe we could make a little peace.

    Maybe An Angel

    For me, this track makes a different kind of sense outside the context of the album and makes less sense to me personally within the context of the album. Is it a song of rescue, of failed hope, or our inability to truly reach our potential. When I first bought the album, I listened to this track almost exclusively because of its meaning to me. It is a beautiful song and lays the foundation of pain and disappointment that sets up the next track.

    I put my hands where your wings should be
    I put my feet where the earth should be
    And I can't see very far
    And when you said that you were dead I hung on

    Something I feel
    You are an angel, or maybe you could've been
    Something out here
    You are an angel, or maybe you could've been

    I met Heather Nova a little less than a year before this album was released. At the time I thought she was a roadie for the main act. I didn't realize she was the opening act. I was there as a guest of the road manager for the opening act, and I had coffee with Heather, having no idea who she was. I remember I kept telling her that I was dead, and telling her bits and pieces of my story. Sometimes, when I've had a few too many drinks, I think that this song is about me.

    See how they run
    And nobody's saying "go"


    If you've ever listened to a song and been disappointed that it failed to live up to its potential because it meandered around the point and never got past that, this is the song for you. The first time I really listened and understood what she was talking about I felt that tinge in my chest. Beginning perfectly with a quiet guitar and Heather singing a sweet little story about childhood, you settle in for the story.

    On the Vermont Transit bus I leaned my arm into a little chink of sun,
    going somewhere older than I was,
    strapped into something tight,
    keeping me small.
    I dug in to you like rock climbing;
    too scared of coming down,
    too scared of going up,
    too scared of rockface.
    I should've split my sides or spilled my guts or hit you or something,
    but I was good.
    And your father's little pancakes so round and perfect and me sitting up straight,
    laughing in wrong places,
    kissing you,
    kissing up,
    kissing too soon.

    If you are paying attention you'll realize she isn't talking about a nice little bus trip through Vermont like you might be led to believe if you are only half paying attention. There is something going on here and the idyllic guitar strumming is giving you a false sense of security. Then chaos kicks in.

    And when you got me pregnant
    I stopped the party
    and I stopped the typewriter
    and I stopped your dumb ball game in the red barn
    and I stopped your father and bled instead.
    And I felt the lie - something sticky on the inside,
    a bitter wind in my throat,
    stopping me wanting,
    in my stomach,
    in my head and you said
    "Sugar sugar, you couldn't come, come
    Sugar sugar, without your mother
    Sugar sugar, you couldn't taste it
    Sugar sugar, in my throat."

    When the morning comes, where will I go?

    Truth And Bone

    The next moment of peace on the album comes here, a much stronger track than Heal but there is a renewed energy towards peace. Throughout the album Heather is showing herself as a powerful voice for "she who has reasons why she cannot be close to you." Well acted or lived through has always been a matter of debate, but the words have always echoed those I have known who live with what I call "black widow syndrome." The plea comes forth and the attempt is made, but it always fall short. Peace is not so easy.

    My mouth is full of secrets I'm too afraid to tell
    My body's longing for you to know me well
    I move through the day in the rhythms that I've known
    I've got this crazy dream of stripping down to truth and bone

    Many of us share the same dream, but it is always more complicated than it sounds.

    Blue Black

    Unfortunately, this is one of those songs that is so much stronger lyrically than it comes across musically. The potential of the song was unfulfilled and the lyrics themselves feel edited, as if something might be missing here. Whenever I hear this track I long for something more, and even though the siren song makes a comeback here, I feel disappointed by the final product.

    And was it familiar when you touched my sister
    God, I don't think there's a word for that

    Blue black, maybe you got something but the flowers grew back

    I gave it away, whore for a day
    It's so ugly, I'm still breathing
    But you never got my virgin heart
    It stayed locked up, it's still beating

    Blue black, maybe you got something but the flowers grew back

    Walking Higher

    The story of the mentor, of she who gave vision and life to that we think is gone forever or is unreachable. We aspire to reach the plane where those we admire and look up to stand in our imaginations. We validate their existence in what they have meant to us and they never truly die as long as we continue to remember them.

    And I will feel for you in the music.
    And I will send that river home.
    And I will cry for you sometimes
    when the night is down.
    And I will raise my head up to the mountains,
    talk to the birds and I fly
    'cause the spirit lives on,
    when the body dies.

    And could I be walking higher
    Could I be right beside her?
    Could I be walking higher
    Could I be right beside her?

    Light Years

    Discovery and salvation. Never mind the problems with using "light years" as a measurement of time. If you've sat there in the dark listening to this album in from the beginning without interruption, this is a welcome moment of triumph. That triumph is tinged with desperation. Heather Nova later revealed her interest in film and in writing themes that would work in cinema, and here she gives the listener what they were hoping for if they hang on the romantic side. Our heroine may have found that island, but the hoarse cry in her voice at the end accentuates the fact that this oasis is all too temporary.

    You found me drifting,
    big motion like a bird,
    strangest song I ever heard.

    Now, now that you're here
    stay with me light years,
    light years, light years

    You may even find yourself wishing you were the hero.


    Sometimes the deepest love can never be fulfilled, because it can only exist as a dream in the mind's eye and in the heart. What it would become in reality would never measure up to the ideal that is created from both experience and hope.

    It gets inside you like the sun,
    it makes you wet just like the rain
    It makes you sound so sentimental,
    it's a lovely kind of pain.

    Childhood dreams of the perfect life, of the perfect life partner and everything magically coming together hang like a memory that won't go away. The memory can hypnotize you, making you wonder where all the innocence went and wondering if you ever had a chance to realize those dreams. Everything changes and you have to put on new clothes to face the life that was taking a far more crooked path than you ever imagined possible in those childhood days. Yet, you go on, and sometimes memories are sufficient fuel. The dreams change as well, but the roots remain where they always were.

    Yeah Romeo you are priceless, lifeless,
    skipping star to scar to star
    I used to dream you'd be slipping, slipping from me.
    Burning, breathing, breathing, sleeping, in me.
    I used to lean over the side of the boat
    and get hypnotized by the water and dream.
    Slipping, slipping, slipping,
    slipping from me.
    Burning, burning, breathing,
    sleeping in me.

    Doubled Up

    The final track finds our heroine playing back on themes we have explored throughout the course of our story. We aren't going out with a whimper and we aren't going out with a bang. We are going out not with hope and not with desperation. The more things change the more they stay the same. We are quiet, resolved to face the human condition and our own demons. We push on without complaining and without blowing everything up in protest.

    I saw a mountain from higher above
    I held your hand and I was doubled up in love
    Big sky above me, a river inside me
    and I'm doubled up in love

    You're watching your step but you fall as you're walking
    You take it in stride but still you fall as you're walking
    Big sky above me, a river inside me
    and I'm doubled up in love

    Feels good, it feels like poetry
    don't ask me to explain it just feels good, like poetry
    I'm doubled up again

    Look at the sky
    Lift off like an aeroplane,
    watch the ground come up to meet you
    Big sky above me, a river inside me
    and I'm doubled up in love

    Feels good, it feel like poetry,
    don't ask me to explain it just feels good, like poetry,
    I'm doubled up again.

    The cycle goes around and the wheels continue to turn. We're all in the same boats. They just painted them different colors.

    Lyrics and music by Heather Nova
    Copyright 1995 Big Life Music America, Inc.
    Ensign Music Corporation (BMI)

    More on oysters- there are other subspecies not mentioned by sneff above in his otherwise informative piece.

    One is the atlantic oyster, Crassostrea Virginicus, which is the most common one eaten in the US, also the lowest priced generally. They grow all the way down the east coast and into the Gulf of Florida. The harvests are getting smaller every year, most notably in the Chesapeake Bay, but they are still very common and well known. The Blue Point Oyster is a well-known example, with around 35 million grown a years. I personally think they are less attractive than Gigas and also have the problem of usually being grown in water that has too many man-made influences on the taste

    The Olympic Oyster is native to the west coast of the US from Oregon to Alaska and has a small niche market as a varietal, but they are smaller and have a very mild taste.

    One other variety that has a strong place in the gourmet market is the Kumamoto, named after the bay in Japan where it was first taken from (and from where it is now extinct- it exists only as a farmed species). This is again a milder taster tasting oyster, but sweetly creamy and worth a try, as they all are.

    Advice on finding a really good oyster- anybody selling oysters should have the interstate shipping tag with the date of harvest on it. Look for under 10 days, and if the oysters have been properly chilled they should taste fairly represtative of what they where just out of the water. When you eat an oyster, remember that the taste is a reflection of the water where it was grown- if you taste chemical overtones, there may be a pulp mill in the watershed, if you taste pavement, you are probably eating a Blue Point (from Long Island Sound). The best tasting oysters come from isolated watersheds in the West Coast, especially Alaska, or from the east coast of Canada. When you eat a really good oyster, you don't need to put any enhancers on it to make it taste great.

    The following is riddled with lies.

    Oyster is the London Transport system's new smart-card ticket system, introduced in 2004. Oyster cards are contactless RFID cards which are used to pay for tube trains and buses.


    Oyster cards were introduced to replace the old-fashioned paper-ticket system. The paper tickets were an environmental hazard; they could not even be recycled, being chemically treated to withstand being fed through the mechanical readers.


    Oyster cards are "contactless", meaning that they don't actually need to touch the reader device, but merely come quite close to it. You can use the card without even taking it out of your wallet (although see below). Radio waves from the reader activate the tiny computer inside the card, even at a distance. The readers are artificially constrained to only work across a few centimetres, to avoid reading the card of the person behind you in the queue. In theory the card can be read from several metres away.

    Oyster cards were introduced when "chip and pin" credit cards were fairly new, and no allowance was made for how these two technologies might interact. It turns out that carrying your Oyster card in your wallet with your credit cards can damage them; when the Oyster card communicates with the reader it sends quite powerful radio waves, which can damage the chip in an adjacent chip-and-pin card. London Transport officially advise that you keep your Oyster card in its own separate wallet.

    Each card has the capacity to store several megabytes in its tiny electronic "brain". Most of this is taken up with details of the card balance but some remains for some speculative future use.


    Buses have Oyster readers at the entrance, which the passenger "swipes" on their way in. Tube stations have Oyster readers on the (existing) entry gates, and the customer swipes the reader to open the gate.

    An individual Oyster card can either be a pre-pay card or a season ticket. In the case of season tickets, the card works much as an old-fashioned season ticket did. In the case of pre-pay cards, the user loads money onto the card from a linked bank account at a cash-machine, and then Oyster readers deduct from the user's balance when they make their journey. Instead of the old one-day travelcard, Oyster cards offer a "price cap" - if you have used more pre-pay credit in one day than a travelcard would cost, you can present your Oyster card to an Oyster-enabled ticket machine and claim the difference back.


    The Oyster system is now deployed across most of London's transport network. Early adopters complained that it was launched before it was ready, and that (for example) a tram might arrive that had no Oyster reader, forcing them to wait for the next tram unless they had remembered to carry cash. This situation has largely abated, above ground at least.

    About twenty of the outlying smaller London Underground stations, mostly in south London, do not yet have Oyster readers. In order for an Oyster user to exit the underground system at one of these stations, they have to present their card to a member of staff. This is generally not a problem, although occasionally some stations are left unmanned at weekends.

    Oyster cards don't come with a photocard, since they are mostly just swiped over a card-reader. To offer some protection against people using each others' Oyster cards, each card is loaded with a variable indicating the skin tone of the card's owner. This enables automatic security cameras, connected to the card readers, some modicum of verification that the card is being used by its rightful owner.

    Unfortunately, due to low light in some tube stations in the evenings, this system has proven unreliable with people with dark skin tones, leading to hysterical complaints that "Black people can't use Oyster" and accusations of racism against London Transport. LT say that a fix is on the way.

    Why "Oyster"?

    LT's official line is that the name has no particular meaning, but some LT-published leaflets about how you shouldn't share your Oyster card had the tag line "Only You Should Touch En Route", suggesting it is an acronym, or at least a backronym.


    Much as BT's Phonecards became collectible, Oyster cards have started to be sought after for their designs rather than their function. Many phonecard collectors are moving into this new hobby since Phonecards have been rendered more-or-less obsolete by mobile phones.

    However, there aren't, so far, many different designs of Oyster card available. The standard "blue swoop" design accounts for the overwhelming quantity of cards in circulation. However, there was an early limited wave of cards featuring the logo of the Evening Standard; in order to publicise the launch of the new system, the cards were given away with the newspaper. The most sought-after are the "gold" (actually, yellow) cards that were originally issued to London Transport employees. These will become rarer over time since they are no longer being made - LT found that employees were selling them to collectors on eBay and then claiming to have lost them, and so now issues only the "blue swoop" cards internally.

    The Future

    The future of Oyster hangs in the balance. So far, take-up has been poor, and the projected economies of scale that were supposed to make the cards cheaper have not materialised. Currently each card costs LT £25 to manufacture; since they are sold for £3, this presents quite a financial burden. Indeed, if the economies of scale don't pan out, LT may find themselves hoping for a reduced rather than increased take-up, simply to avoid the expense.

    It is likely that Oyster will survive at least until the London 2012 Olympics - the smart-card technology presents the kind of futuristic image that London will wish to project. However, once the festivities are over, odds are good that London will revert to the tried-and-tested (and most of all cheap) paper ticket system that has served it so well over the years.


    Oys"ter (?), n. [OF. oistre, F. huitre, L. ostrea, ostreum,Gr. ; prob. akin to bone, the oyster being so named from its shell. Cf. Osseous, Ostracize.]

    1. Zool.

    Any marine bivalve mollusk of the genus Ostrea. They are usually found adhering to rocks or other fixed objects in shallow water along the seacoasts, or in brackish water in the mouth of rivers. The common European oyster (Ostrea edulis), and the American oyster (Ostrea Virginiana), are the most important species.


    A name popularly given to the delicate morsel contained in a small cavity of the bone on each side of the lower part of the back of a fowl.

    Fresh-water oyster Zool., any species of the genus Etheria, and allied genera, found in rivers of Africa and South America. They are irregular in form, and attach themselves to rocks like oysters, but they have a pearly interior, and are allied to the fresh-water mussels. --
    Oyster bed, a breeding place for oysters; a place in a tidal river or other water on or near the seashore, where oysters are deposited to grow and fatten for market. See lst Scalp, n. --
    Oyster catcher Zool., any one of several species of wading birds of the genus Haematopus, which frequent seashores and feed upon shellfish. The European species (H. ostralegus), the common American species (H. palliatus), and the California, or black, oyster catcher (H. Bachmani) are the best known. --
    Oyster crab Zool. a small crab (Pinnotheres ostreum) which lives as a commensal in the gill cavity of the oyster. --
    Oyster dredge, a rake or small dragnet of bringing up oyster from the bottom of the sea. --
    Oyster fish. (Zool.) (a) The tautog. (b) The toadfish. --
    Oyster plant. Bot. (a) A plant of the genus Tragopogon (T. porrifolius), the root of which, when cooked, somewhat resembles the oyster in taste; salsify; --
    called also vegetable oyster. (b) A plant found on the seacoast of Northern Europe, America and Asia (Mertensia maritima), the fresh leaves of which have a strong flavor of oysters. --
    Oyster plover. Zool. Same as Oyster catcher, above. --
    Oyster shell Zool., the shell of an oyster. --
    Oyster wench, Oyster wife, Oyster women, a women who deals in oysters. --
    Pearl oyster. Zool. See under Pearl. --
    Thorny oyster Zool., any spiny marine shell of the genus Spondylus.


    © Webster 1913.

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