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Summary of the importance of wild edible fungi
by region and country


Countries are arranged in six regions.


The country summaries highlight key information on wild edible fungi though details are often sparse, particularly on the broader social and economic contexts of use. Lists of “edible” species published in the mycological literature are of very limited use unless it is made clear which ones are actually eaten.

Two comprehensive reviews on wild fungi in Africa south of the Sahara have been particularly useful: Rammeloo and Walleyn (1993) for edible fungi and Walleyn and Rammeloo (1994) for poisonous and useful fungi. Key references are noted separately.

For many countries little or no published information on wild edible fungi was found. There are some clues to suggest that local use does occur but has yet to be described. No details of wild edible fungi use in Rwanda were found yet neighbouring Burundi has regular collecting, sale and consumption. Few details were found for Viet Nam and none for Myanmar yet there are cultural links to China, the country with the strongest tradition of wild edible fungi. Little information is available on Angola though it has large tracts of miombo woodland that are productive in neighbouring countries.


Information is often incomplete and widely dispersed and trade data are missing for important exporting countries. Overall, the best information available is at but only covers 1993–97.


A comprehensive description of all fungal species (mostly macrofungi) that have appeared on stamps since Romania produced the first examples in 1958 is available (McKenzie, 1997). Most of the 1 400 examples are edible species. Medicinal and poisonous varieties also appear. The list of species appearing on stamps is useful for countries where few other sources of information are available, for example the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Small island nations exploit colourful species to increase revenue from stamp sales and the examples used are therefore a poor indication of local importance.


No information was found on wild edible fungi and other useful species for the following countries:

Cape Verde; Chad; Comoros; Djibouti; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Gambia; Liberia; Mali; Mauritania; Niger; Sao Tome and Principe; Seychelles; St Helena; Sudan; Togo; Western Sahara

Two frequently cited reviews appear as: R+W (Rammeloo and Walleyn, 1993) and W+ R (Walleyn and Rammeloo, 1994).

For general information on NWFP in Africa see FAO (2001b). The only information found on fungi as emergency (famine) food concerned refugees from Mozambique who fled to Malawi in the 1980s (Wilson et al., 1989).




Has exported matsutake in minor quantities to Japan, most likely Tricholoma caligatum. Desert truffles occur but few details are given (Alsheikh and Trappe, 1983). There are possibly exports to Spain (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy).


There is limited information that edible species are collected and used locally (FAO, 2001a). Isolated examples of wild edible species are given in R+W. Angola has miombo woodland similar to neighbouring countries where edible species are regularly collected and consumed. Further investigation is required.


Recent work reveals an extensive range of species that are consumed locally (De Kesel, Codjia and Yorou, 2002) and a long tradition of eating wild edible fungi. Few are openly sold.


R+W lists a few species. Desert truffles are eaten and exported but harvests are very variable (Taylor et al., 1995).


R+W lists a few species. A study of ectomycorrhizal fungi (Sanon, Ba and Dexheimer, 1997) confirms that edible species occur, though use as food is not discussed.


Many different species occur and are collected and sold each year by rural people (Buyck, 1994b). There are distinct preferences for species among Africans and European expatriates.


Several reports and records have appeared and are summarized in R+W. No suggestion of major use of wild edible fungi but commonly collected and eaten.


R+W list species from several sources. Forest dwellers appear to make the greatest use of wild fungi though this could reflect more detailed studies of these communities.


R+W has little information. A poorly studied country where wider use might be expected.


Many publications and much research interest reveal widespread and significant use of wild edible species. Most reports concentrate on the Shaba region (e.g. Degreef, 1992). Information also in R+W.


R+W list only a few records, but there are suggestions that use of wild edible fungi has been under-recorded and that several species are consumed and traded.


Only one short account has been found (Zakhary et al., 1983). No evidence to suggest that wild edible fungi are either abundant or routinely used.


Only two short reports are known (Abate, 1999; Tuno, 2001). No evidence to suggest widespread use or importance of wild edible fungi.


R+W contains two records gleaned from earlier report which named 23 different types of WEF but using local names for most (Walker, 1931), suggesting common consumption.


R+W contains few records. Information from the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana confirms that several species are collected and used (Obodai and Apetorgbor, 2001).


W+R has one record. Much wider use is expected and may have escaped detection because collection is essentially local and seasonal.


No information on wild edible found though a study of mycorrhizal fungi confirms the presence of edible varieties (Thoen and Ba, 1989).


R+W and W+R contain several records but there is no evidence to support widespread collecting or trading.


R+W has one record of a termite fungus. No other information available but note the presence of forest tree species (pines) associated with edible mycorrhizal fungi.


Only one passing reference to desert truffles (Alsheikh and Trappe, 1983).


R+W and W+R note several edible species though precise details of collection, consumption and sale are obscure (Bouriquet, 1970). No exports are known. More detailed studies are needed given the clear signs of major activities (Buyck, 2001).


A small country with a well-established tradition of using wild edible fungi. It has been well studied by comparison with similar countries (R+W; W+R; Morris, 1987; Boa et al., 2000). See also .


A few records exist (R+W; W+R; Peerally, 1979) but no details are available.


Macrofungi are well-described and a range of edible species occur (Malencon and Bertault, 1975). Their significance to local people is not well known. It is a small-scale exporter of mushrooms (sic) to Japan, including a matsutake relative (Tricholoma caligatum – see Kytovuori, 1989).


A country rich in edible species. These are routinely collected, consumed and sold internally but details are sketchy (Uaciquete, Dai and Motta, 1996; Boa et al., 2000). Further study is required. There are also suggestions of B. edulis exports to Italy via companies based in South Africa (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy).


A few isolated records (R+W and W+R). No major use of wild edible species is indicated but there are regular exports of desert truffles (Taylor, 2002, personal communication: Edible fungi eaten and traded in Botswana and Namibia). Useful macrofungi occur in the Namib desert (Jacobson 1996).


Brief lists of edible species are noted, mostly in connection with the Yoruba people (R+W and W+R). Several others reports exist (e.g. Oso, 1975) but they often repeat details published previously.


No records in R+W or W+R but information from Burundi (Buyck, 1994b) is relevant.


Accounts of ectomycorrhizal species confirm that edible species are present (Thoen and Ba, 1989) but little is known about their use by local people (Ducousso, Ba and Thoen, 2002).


Only one passing reference (to Termitomyces) was found (Pegler and Vanhaecke, 1994). Mende women collect and sell edible fungi in Segbwema and presumably this occurs in other local markets (Down, 2002, personal communication: Wild edible fungi Sierra Leone). Further study is required.


No information was found and there is no indication of widespread or regular use (R+W).


Much mycological information but details on local non-European preferences and practices are only slowly being revealed (Shackleton et al., 2002). See R+W and W+R for further discussions. Termitomyces collected and sold in KwaZulu (van der Westhuizen and Eicker, 1994). There are regular exports of Boletus edulis from pine plantations (Marais, 2002, personal communication: Collecting B. edulis in South Africa) which began in the 1970s (Pott, 2002, personal communication: Export of B. edulis from South Africa).


Few details available about local use. Irregular exports of boletes in small quantities to Europe during the 1990s have occurred and appear to still take place (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy).


R+W and W+R list many species. Good descriptions available of a wide range of edible fungi that are regularly collected, consumed and sold locally. Different species eaten in Miombo woodland and mountainous areas. An excellent and well illustrated guide to wild mushrooms has been published (Härkönen, Niemelä and Mwasumbi, 2003).


Only one short report on desert truffle was found (Alsheikh and Trappe, 1983). A minor and irregular exporter of “mushrooms”, possibly to Spain (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy).


R+W contains only a few records. A wider and stronger tradition is indicated (see Katende et al., 1999). Information from Burundi is relevant (Buyck, 1994b).


Widespread, common and significant use of wild edible species has been well described (e.g. (Pegler and Piearce, 1980; Piearce, 1981). R+W and W+R summarize records.


Wild edible fungi are commonly collected, sold and consumed. Boletus edulis is exported to Europe (Boa et al., 2000). See also Ryvarden, Piearce and Masuka (1994) and W+R. Local traditions have been investigated in some detail only in the last 10 to 15 years and are less well described compared to Malawi and Zambia. Further attention is warranted.


No information was found on wild edible fungi and other useful species for the following countries or regions:

Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Brunei; Cambodia; Cyprus; Gaza Strip; Georgia; Kazakhstan; Maldives; Oman; Qatar; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Timor-Leste; United Arab Emirates; Uzbekistan;West Bank; Yemen

The proximity of Azerbaijan and Georgia to countries with a known tradition of wild edible fungi (e.g. Armenia and Turkey) suggests a wider use of wild edible fungi than has been reported. Anecdotal information indicates that Kazakhstan has “little or no” tradition of wild edible fungi. The use of wild edible fungi in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan is expected but has yet to be confirmed. So too for Cambodia: there is a tradition among tribal people in the region of using wild edible fungi (Hosaka, 2002, personal communication: Laos edible fungi) See Plates 8 and 9.




A few wild edible species are described (Batra, 1983). Morels are exported (Sabra and Walter, 2001).


A range of available edible species are collected, consumed and traded locally. Exports have not been reported (Nanaguylan, 2002, personal communication: Edible fungi in Armenia).


Small-scale use by Chakma people in Hill Tracts has been noted (Siddiqi, 1998).


A small-scale exporter of matsutake to Japan but important to the local economy. Wild edible species are regularly sold in markets though species and amounts are not known (Namgyel, 2000).


The leading producer, user and exporter of wild edible fungi in the world with a long and notable tradition of using medicinal species. There are significant exports of matsutake to Japan though harvesting practices are causing concern for sustainable production in some areas (Winkler, 2000). Truffles and Boletus edulis exported more recently in significant quantities to Europe (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy).

General lists of species in regular use have been published outside China (e.g. Hall et al., 1998a) but should be consulted together with an expanding Chinese Literature. See Mao and Jiang, 1992 for Tibet Autonomous Region; Ying et al., 1987; Ying et al., 1988. Zhongguo Shiyongjun [Edible Fungi of China] regularly publishes information but in Chinese. Few accounts of fungi sold in markets have been published (Chamberlain, 1996) though this is a widespread and important activity. For medicinal species generally see Hobbs (1995).

The best guide and source of information on field mycology and species of WEF is Mao, 2000).


Chang and Mao (1995) is a comprehensive account of macrofungi and their useful characteristics (in Chinese). This has a wider relevance to China.


Lists of edible species from the extensive mycological records are difficult to interpret and social and economic aspects are poorly studied. For general information see Purkayastha and Chandra, 1985. Studies of local use include: Harsh, Rai and Ayachi, 1993; Harsh, Rai and Soni, 1999; Adhikary et al., 1999. Morels are collected for export in Himalayan regions (FAO, 1993b) and are of economic importance. Further studies are needed, particularly in hill areas where tribal people live, e.g. Tripura and Mizoram.


Very little information has been published though there is clear evidence of widespread use and market selling (Burkhill, 1935; Heyne, 1927; Rifai, 1989). There is much interest in cultivating fungi (e.g. Gunawan, 2000) and these are widely available. The extensive literature on NWFP has few details of wild edible fungi though local sources in Kalimantan (Leluyani, 2002, personal communication: Edible fungi of Kalimantan) listed over ten different types regularly collected and consumed in forest areas, mostly saprobic species. Canned Scleroderma spp. are sold (Ducousso, Ba and Thoen, 2002). Published records of agarics and boletes are available at and include several common edible species.


Truffles occur but their significance to local people is not known (Saremi, Ammarellou and Mohammadi, 2002). Other edible and medicinal species have been recorded (see Niemelä and Uotila, 1977; Isiloglu and Watling, 1992) in the mycological literature.


Only one passing reference [to desert truffles] is known (Al-Naama, Ewaze and Nema, 1988).


The recent arrival of many Russians has introduced a strongly mycophilic influence (Wasser, 1995), though there is still little available information on how collection and consumption of wild edible fungi has changed. Previously there was only limited interest in a few key species.


It has a notable and significant tradition of collecting, consuming and selling wild useful fungi (e.g. Kawagoe, 1924; Stamets, 2000). There is an extensive literature on macrofungi (e.g. Imazeki et al., 1988) and research on wild edible species, particularly matsutake. Japan is a major importer of matsutake and related species from around the world.


Several species are consumed locally (Cavalcaselle, 1997; Sabra and Walter, 2001).


There is undoubtedly a strong local tradition of collecting and consuming wild edible fungi but information is scarce. There are significant exports of matsutake to Japan (


It has a strong local tradition of using wild edible fungi and is a major exporter of matsutake to Japan. For further information, see Kim and Kim (1990).


Only one account with a passing reference to desert truffles is known (Alsheikh and Trappe, 1983).


A comprehensive list of edible species has been published (El’chibaev, 1964) which suggests widespread if not necessarily significant use of wild species.


A list of edible species with photos is available at . NWFP studies include references to wild edible fungi (Rijsoort and Pikun, 2000). Local use is widespread (Hosaka, 2002, personal communication: Laos edible fungi) but poorly described. Further studies are needed to reveal more details about the use of wild edible fungi by hill people generally in the region.


Several species are locally collected though apparently use is small scale and may not be widespread (Sabra and Walter, 2001).


Termite fungi are regularly collected and sold (Pegler and Vanhaecke, 1994). Mycological reports from Sarawak (Chin, 1988; Chin, 1998) hint at regular use of wild edible species, confirmed by anecdotal accounts (Jones, 2002, personal communication: Wild edible fungi use in Sarawak).


No information was found but similar traditions to neighbouring countries (e.g. China) are expected.


Termite fungi are recorded in the mycological literature (Pegler and Vanhaecke, 1994) and are undoubtedly eaten, but no other details have been found. However, similar patterns of use are expected in the hill regions based on traditions in neighbouring countries.


Widespread collection, sale and consumption occur (e.g. Adhikari and Adhikari, 1996), with most activity in the hill regions.


Only limited information was found. Morels are collected and exported (FAO, 1993b). Mycological reports do not describe local practices or preferences for species (Batra, 1983; Syed-Riaz and Mahmood-Khan, 1999).


A comprehensive mycological paper (Mendoza, 1938) lists over 50 species, many with local names and suggesting widespread use. This information is not included in the annexes. Forest dwellers in Palawan also eat wild edible fungi (Novellino, 1999).


Limited information on desert truffles (Tirmania) only was found (Bokhary and Parvez, 1993).


A significant importer and user of edible fungi though mostly, it is suspected, of the cultivated species (Jones and Lim, 1990). A strong cultural influence from the Chinese tradition is expected.


Local collections occur but limited information was found (Gunatilleke, Gunatilleke and Abeygunawardena, 1993). Termite fungi occur and are presumably eaten (Pegler and Vanhaecke, 1994).


Similar tradition to mainland China though information not actively gathered. Long tradition of mycological research on the higher fungi (see Chen, 1987).


There is a notable tradition of collection, selling and consumption but only one detailed report was found (Jones, Whalley and Hywel-Jones, 1994).


There is a strong but perhaps still relatively small export industry to Europe, based predominantly on the collection of wild edible fungi (Gurer, 2002, personal communication: Unpublished trade data on wild edible fungi in Turkey). Mycological reports suggest widespread use and significance (e.g. Afyon, 1997; Kasik and Ozturk, 1995). See also and Sabra and Walter (2001).


Has exported “mushrooms” to Germany, most probably wild edible species ( ).


There are clear indications of widespread local use and collecting in the upland areas (Chamberlain, 2002, personal communication: Wild edible fungi in Viet Nam) but this is poorly documented. NWFP investigations frequently mention wild edible fungi (e.g. Rijsoort and Pikun, 2000). Paddy straw (Volvariella spp.) occurs naturally in lowland areas and is also cultivated. Other cultivated species such as shiitake and ear fungi (Auricularia spp.) are sold fresh and dried in markets in Ho Chi Minh city.


The macrofungi of Europe, as defined by the present boundaries of the European Union and contiguous countries, are well known and described. Finland has the most comprehensive literature on collection and use of edible fungi and has paid particular attention to their importance for people.

Information on edible fungi from Liechtenstein, Malta and Iceland was not found.

Countries fall in to two broad groups: first, nations with weak economies, usually with a significant local tradition of using wild edible fungi and some which also export; second, wealthier countries that import but may not have a strong tradition of collecting. Romania is an example of the first group and the Netherlands an example of the second. (The Netherlands is the largest global exporter of button mushrooms – Agaricus bisporus – and third exporter after China and the United States of all cultivated species.)

The easing of economic and political barriers in the early 1990s has stimulated exports from former Soviet countries, Balkan states and Yugoslavia specifically (Perini, 1998). Within the richer countries of Europe collecting wild edible fungi is mostly for small-scale personal use and is of minor economic importance to the collectors, though there is a growing individual interest in collecting truffles and porcini in Italy (Zambonelli, 2002, personal communication: Truffles, and collecting porcini in Italy). See Plates 3 and 4.

For accounts of wild edible fungi collected from boreal and cold temperate forests see Lund, Pajari and Korhonen (1998).




It has exported limited quantities of edible fungi to Italy, probably Boletus edulis (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy) and a few other types, but there is no regular trade.


Wild edible species are described briefly (Malyi, 1987) but without details of local practices. Also exports wild species in small quantities to Italy (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy) and other unspecified countries (Ollikainen, 1998).


Exports “mushrooms”, including Boletus edulis to Italy (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy). No other information or reports have been seen.


Major exporter of “wild mushrooms”. Edible and poisonous species have been described in the mycological literature (Iordanov, Vanev and Fakirova, 1978) though local traditions are not well known.


A minor exporter to neighbouring Germany, assumed to be mostly from the wild. Local collecting and consumption was regulated some time ago (Pilát, 1951) and appear to be mostly for internal consumption (Sisak, 1998).


Exporter but activities disrupted by civil strife. Exact details are unclear but see comments for Serbia and Montenegro.


Known to have a strong tradition of local use and research on wild edible fungi (Kalamees and Silver, 1988). Production data indicate it is a minor exporter (Paal and Saastamoinen, 1998), at least from 1993 to 1997 ( ).


Traditions vary from the mycophilic east, influenced by its proximity to the Russian Federation, to the less enthusiastic west, taking its influences from Sweden (Härkönen, 1998). There has been official encouragement to collect edible fungi since the Second World War and discussions and research on inventory and long-term yield studies (Rautavaara, 1947; Koistinen, 1978); access to lands (Saastamoinen, 1999); local mushroom advisors (Mildh, 1978; Härkönen, 1988).


Commonly collected and used in rural areas from forests (Diamandis, 1997). Few are sold in farmers’ markets though there have been increases in commercial picking which are causing concern (Diamandis, 2002). Have been eaten since ancient times (Hettula, 1989).


Exports and has a local tradition of collection and consumption, but few published details are available apart from lists of species (Grunert and Grunert, 1995).


Extensive imports of Boletus edulis (porcini) from a wide range of countries, extending to China (over 60% of imports according to Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy) and southern Africa. See (Hall et al., 1998b) for general information on porcini. Recently, an inferior Tuber from China has been imported (Hall, Zambonelli and Primavera, 1998a; Zang and Pu, 1992). See Buller (1914) for historical perspective. In the past the collection of wild edible fungi was important to the livelihoods of many people in the northern regions. While there is still a strong interest in collecting and eating, particularly porcini and truffles, their economic importance to local people has declined. Still, there is a strong commercial interest in both groups of fungi with demand outstripping local supply (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy). Italy has an impressive mycological tradition but there is a paucity of information on local traditions and uses of WEF by people.



Relatively minor exporter at least from 1993 to 1997 ( It has a similar local tradition of use compared to Estonia and Lithuania (Vilkriste, 1998). For selected list of edible species see Urbonas, Kalamees and Lukin (1974).


Major exporter to Germany over the period 1993 to 1997 but in variable quantities ( Around 190 edible species are listed by Butkus et al. (1987). Further information available in Rutkauskas (1998).


Regular exporter, including Boletus edulis to Italy (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy) and with a suggested strong tradition of local use (Bauer-Petrovska et al., 2001).


Minor exports of Boletus edulis to Italy (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy). Likely to have a similar tradition of collecting and use to the Russian Federation.


Europe’s leading exporter of “mushrooms” and a major source of revenue. It is said to be a the pioneer in protecting wild edible fungi with legislation introduced in 1983 (Lawrynowicz, 1997). Also has a strong local tradition in the poorer regions (Snowarski, 2002, personal communication: Wild edible fungi in Poland). For general information see www. and Kalinowski (1998).


Major exporter of wild edible fungi (Pop, 1997), with Boletus edulis sent to Italy on a regular basis (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy).


A strong and lengthy tradition of collecting and consuming wild edible fungi exists (Wasson and Wasson, 1957). Precise details of current use are difficult to find though there is an impressive mycological literature and history of research on species (e.g. Dudka and Wasser, 1987; Vasil’eva, 1978; Wasser, 1990). It is the second most important country or region for wild edible fungi after China in terms of amounts collected but trails in value of exports – though these have occurred for many years (Paal, 1998).

There is a certain fearlessness in picking fungi as indicated by regular poisoning and even deaths (Chibisov and Demidova, 1998; Evans, 1996). Concern has been expressed about rampant exports in “hundreds of tons”, with St Petersburg a “much exploited region” (Kovalenko, 1997).


Exports of Boletus edulis to Italy began in the 1970s (Borghi, 2002, personal communication: Porcini and other commercial wild edible fungi in Italy) and regularly ever since. Exports increased significantly in the 1990s, of B. edulis and other species, with significant rises in the numbers of people earning a living from commercial activities (Ivancevic, 1997). In sharp contrast, there are weak local traditions of use (Zaklina, 1998).


Unconfirmed reports of widespread collecting are similar to traditions in neighbouring countries, for example Poland.


Moderate amounts are exported, including Boletus edulis to Italy. It has a notable though not necessarily strong local tradition ( ).


Sharply differing traditions of local use with the strongest existing among the mushroom-loving Catalans and also Basque people. Their interests drive much of the internal trade in WEF. There is an important trade in Lactarius deliciosus (níscalos) from northwest Spain (Castilla y Leon) to Catalonia while truffles are of increasing importance to local people in the Pyrenees (de Román, 2002, personal communication: Trade in níscalos from North Spain to Catalonia and truffle production). For a comprehensive account of wild edible fungi see Martínez, Oria de Rueda and Martínez (1997). Spanish traders visit Portugal for commercial activities while French collectors cross over to Spain for truffles. See also (Wasson and Wasson (1957) for historical information on local traditions.


Possesses significant resources that are highly valued by local people (Zerova and Wasser, 1972; Zhang, 1999). There has been much concern expressed about contamination by radioactive materials following the Chernobyl accident but this is overshadowed by the dramatic rise in deaths from eating poisonous species (Vachuska and Vachuska, 2000), events linked to a weak economy and a desperate search for food (Almond, 2002).

Collections in the following countries are essentially for occasional individual use. General comments concern exports and imports, depending on available information.




Exports species but details vague. Scientists have made major contributions to African Mycology (Rammeloo, 1994).


Small-scale and infrequent local collections only (Plum, 1998).


Major importer and exporter (sometimes from third party countries e.g. Portugal, Spain). At one time exported large quantities of truffles to Italy (Ainsworth, 1976). There is a strong tradition of collecting and eating WEF in the south (e.g. Gascony, Provence) but published information on local traditions has not been found


Major importer of wild edible fungi, e.g. chanterelles.


Major exporter but mostly (only?) cultivated species to the United Kingdom ( ).


Europe’s leading exporter of mushrooms, mostly cultivated species.


Common edible species such as chanterelles and boletes are collected for personal use.


Local traditions are weak (Martins et al., 2002) and this has been exploited by traders from Spain and France who have created a “flourishing and uncontrolled commercial” business (Baptista-Ferreira, 1997): hundreds of tonnes of Boletus edulis and related species are exported.


Chanterelles and other common edible species are sold but there is no strong tradition of collecting. There is an increased interest in cultivating truffles.


There is fierce competition by collectors for local resources (see Egli, Ayer and Chatelain, 1990). Some information on imports of wild edible fungi is presented in Wills and Lipsey (1999).


Major importer of mushrooms, particularly from Ireland (see Small-scale commercialization of wild edible fungi has begun and there is a useful study of collectors and the developing trade (Dyke and Newton, 1999). Concerns about overpicking and damage caused by collectors has led to the introduction of local regulations at several sites in southern England (e.g. New Forest, Epping Forest).

North and Central America

See Plate 7. No information was found on wild edible fungi and other useful species for the following countries:

Antigua and Barbuda; Antilles, Netherlands; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bermuda; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Martinique; Monserrat; Nicaragua; Panama; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; United States Virgin Islands




Exports to Japan and to Europe. Several publications described the expansion in collection and trade of wild edible fungi, principally from British Colombia (the “Pacific northwest”) (see Redhead, 1997; Tedder, Mitchell and Farran, 2000). Some United States publications include Canada in their discussions (Pilz and Molina, 2002). First nation people have collected and used for many years (Marles et al., 2000).


Studies on the diversity of macrofungi are well advanced, though without any clear emphasis on edible species (Mata-Hidalgo, 1999). Lists of edible and poisonous species (Saenz, Lizano and Nassar, 1983) confirm weak local traditions.


There is little or no apparent tradition of using wild edible fungi (Minter, 2002, personal communication: Edible fungi in Chile, Cuba and Argentina).


Exports to Germany but irregular and small scale. Intensive agriculture and deforestation suggests few collections are made though note strong tradition in nearby Guatemala.


Strong tradition in the Western Highlands (Flores, 2002, personal communication: Guatemala edible fungi; Flores, Bran and Honrubia, 2002; de Leon, 2002). An account of poisoning (Logemann et al., 1987) points to the wider significance of wild edible fungi though again mainly in the western highlands. Local edible species have been documented (Sommerkamp and Guzmán, 1990) and historical accounts of use exist (e.g. Lowy, 1971).


Haitian expatriates regularly buy djon djon, a Psathyrella species (Nieves-Rivera, 2001), which is cultivated only in Haiti (Yetter, 2002, personal communication: Edible fungi from Haiti; for sale in Brooklyn; link to eating Psathyrella in Africa) and exported around the world. Local details of production are sketchy. A few other wild edible fungi are collected and some information is available in Alphonse, 1981, but this reveals few details.


Extensive areas of natural pine forest are associated with good wild edible fungi. There is a tradition in the west, close to the border with Guatemala, where around three or four species are sold in local markets (House, 2002, personal communication: Wild edible fungi in Honduras).


Minor and irregular exports of “mushrooms” to Germany ( ) but details are sketchy. There is no obvious tradition of wild edible fungi in the Caribbean with the major known exception of Haiti.


One of the most important countries for use and significance of collections to local people. It is unusual in the extent to which this has been described by local scientists (see Villarreal and Perez-Moreno (1989) for a good summary). For good online access to key information see SEMARNAT (2002). Small-scale exports of selected species. Wild fungi also play a strong cultural role (Riedlinger, 1990). There is a vigorous body of researchers working on wild edible fungi and regular publications that are now turning their attention to key social and economic issues.


Major exporter to Japan of matsutake but also a notable importer from a wide range of places. Has a rich literature and tradition in mycological sciences and is the academic “home” of ethnomycology (see Schultes 1940; Riedlinger 1990). The tradition of local use and collections is much less than that suggested by the vast scientific canon. That which does exist owes much to the cultural background of immigrants from Europe and Japan (less is known about the influence of Chinese immigrants; see also notes above on Haiti). However, there are also significant accounts by native Americans (e.g. Keewaydinoquay, 1998).

Most recent interest has centred on the export-driven collections and subsequent huge expansion of commercial activities and trade centering around the Pacific northwest. This trade has been stimulated by a decline in forestry jobs and the demand for matsutake in Japan. There is an extensive literature on this topic (see Pilz and Molina, 2002 for a comprehensive review).


No information was found on wild edible fungi and other useful species for these countries:

Cook Islands; French Polynesia; Guam; Kiribati; Marshall Islands; Micronesia; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Samoa; American Samoa, Solomon Islands; Tonga; Vanuatu




There is useful account of aboriginal use (Kalotas, 1997).


A brief account (Markham, 1998) describes a weak tradition of collecting from the wild.


Most notable for the successful research and development efforts in cultivating Tuber spp. (see Hall et al. (1998a) for general information). Once exported relatively large amounts of Auricularia to China (Colenso, 1884–85).


An informative ethnomycological study of one group of highland people hints at a more widespread importance (Sillitoe, 1995). An account of wild edible fungi used by the Gadsup people also lists many species used locally (Shaw, 1984), including “Amanitas and Russulas”, but the original sources of this information (Heim, 1964) has not been seen.

South America

There are few comprehensive accounts of wild edible fungi for the region but note two papers that present useful information: first, Paraná in Brazil (Meijer, 2001) and, second, the Mercosur region comprising Argentina, Chile and Uruguay (Deschamps, 2002). See Plate 7.

No information was found for these countries:

French Guiana; Guyana; Paraguay; Suriname; Venezuela




Morels are collected and sold locally, and there are commercial collections of Suillus luteus near Bariloche (Gamundí, 2002, personal communication: Edible fungi collected in Argentina). Cyttaria species are eaten in the south (Minter, Cannon and Peredo, 1987). A recent overview of wild edible fungi in the Mercosur regions has been published (Deschamps, 2002).


No information found on local use. An Indian lady was selling Leucoagaricus hortensis in Cochabamba market in March 2001 and suggests that some collection occurs (personal observation). The vendor was the only person offering wild fungi for sale (and in quantities of less than a kilogram).


A country with a rich mycological tradition in science but weak tradition in use of wild edible fungi. Ethnomycological studies in Amazonia (Prance, 1984) reveals small-scale but important use that hints at wider collections for other forest dwellers in Colombia, Bolivia, Peru and Venezuela. Despite significant Italian migration to Rio Grande do Sul there is no reported collections, even though pines are widely planted (Schifino-Wittmann, 2002, personal communication: Eating fungi in south Brazil). The influence of a large ethnic Japanese population is also curiously muted though Agaricus blazei, a medicinal species, was apparently first discovered by someone of Japanese descent. The fungus is exported to Japan. The small-scale use of wild edible fungi among Europeans is commented on by Meijer (2001).


Suillus luteus is exported from forest plantations (see FAO, 1998a). There is a local Indian tradition [Mapuche] of eating Cyttaria, a curious golf-ball like fungus parasitic on Nothofagus (Minter, Cannon and Peredo,1987). A comprehensive list of fungi eaten locally is available (FAO, 1998b) and earlier information provides details of harvesting operations in Region VII (FAO, 1993a).


A recent guide to macrofungi (Franco-Molano, Aldana-Gomez and Halling, 2000) includes edible species but has no information on local practices in the Andean region.


Irregular and small-scale exporter of pine boletes, principally if not wholly to the United States (Rojas and Mansur, 1995). Suillus luteus is the principal species involved (Hedger, 1986).


A preliminary list of wild edible fungi does not have details of local practices (Remotti and Colan, 1990). An ethnoscientific study suggests widespread collections by rural people (Franquemont et al., 1990).


A recent overview of wild edible fungi has been published (Deschamps, 2002). This lists several species that are traded (see Annex 2).

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