Wild mushrooms in Ethiopia: A review and synthesis for future perspective

Tatek Dejene, Juan Andrés Oria-de-Rueda, Pablo Martín-Pinto


Aim of study: To review and provide all-purpose information about wild mushrooms in Ethiopia and to create awareness for conservation and use of mycological resources.

Area of study: We focused mainly on Ethiopia, where information about wild mushrooms is scanty and their status is unknown under the rampant degradation of the habitats.

Main results: We reviewed all relevant references related to wild mushrooms and their ecological niches, cultural practices and species used for cultivation as well as the anthropogenic factors affecting the conservation of fungal diversity.

Research highlights: This review summarizes issues related to the diversity of wild mushrooms, the main ecological niches and their associated fungal species, and mushroom cultivation practices in Ethiopia. Moreover, threats and the need for future conservation of wild mushrooms in the country are also reported. This review paper can serve as base line information and indicator for further mycological studies in Ethiopia as well as in other developing countries with similar scenarios.


Diversity; ecological niches; Ethiopia; mushroom cultivation; wild mushrooms

Full Text:




Abate D, 1999. Agaricus campestris in upland Ethiopia. Mycologist 13(1): 28. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0269-915X(99)80075-5

Abate D, 2008. Wild mushrooms in Ethiopia and our eating habit. National Mushroom Conference, Addis Ababa university, Faculty of Science, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 14-15.

Abate D, 2014. Wild mushrooms and mushroom cultivation efforts in Ethiopia. WSMBMP Bulletin 11.

Águeda B, Parladé J, Fernández-Toirán LM, Cisneros Ó, María de Miguel A, Modrego MP, Martínez-Peña F, Pera J, 2008. Mycorrhizal synthesis between Boletus edulis species complex and rockroses (Cistus spp.). Mycorrhiza 18: 443–449. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00572-008-0192-3

Alemu F, 2013. Assessment of wild mushrooms and wood decaying fungi in Dilla University main campus, Ethiopia. IJAR 1(8): 458-467.

Alemu H, Debela N, Mamuye A, Jano M, 2012. Wild Edible Plants by Gumuz Tribes as nutritious and sustainable food stuffs in the Metekel and Kamashi Zones of Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State. An assessments report submitted to Tikuret Legumuz Hizb Limat Mahibr, Assosa Ethiopia.

Bekele M, 2011. Forest plantations and woodlots in Ethiopia. African Forest Forum Work Paper 1: 1-51.

Boa ER, 2004. Wild edible fungi: a global overview of their use and importance to people. Non-wood forest products -17, FAO. Rome.

Brundrett M, 2009. Mycorrhizal associations and other means of nutrition of vascular plants: understanding the global diversity of host plants by resolving conflicting information and developing reliable means of diagnosis. Plant Soil 320: 37–77. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-008-9877-9

Cai M, Pettenella D, Vidale E, 2011. Income generation from wild mushrooms in marginal rural areas. Forest Policy Econ 13(3): 221–226. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2010.10.001

Chang ST, Miles PG, 2004. Mushrooms: cultivation, nutritional value, medicinal effect, and environmental impact (2nd ed.). CRC Press LLC. https://doi.org/10.1201/9780203492086

Chang YS, Lee SS, 2004. Utilization of macrofungi species in Malaysia. Fungal Divers 15: 15-22.

Crous PW, Rong IH, Wood A, Lee S, Glen H, Botha W, Slippers B, de Beer WZ, Wingfield MJ, Hawksworth DL, 2006. How many species of fungi are there at the tip of Africa? Stud Mycol55: 13–33. https://doi.org/10.3114/sim.55.1.13

Damian DT, 2012. Termitomyces species from Tanzania, their cultural properties and unequalled Basidiospores. JBLS 3(1): 140-159.

Decock C, Bitew A, Castillo G, 2005. Fomitiporia tenuis and Fomitiporia aethiopica (Basidiomycetes, Hymennomycetales), two undescribed species from Ethiopian Highlands: taxonomy and phylogeny. Mycologia 97(1):121-129. https://doi.org/10.3852/mycologia.97.1.121

Ferreira IC, Vaz JA, Vasconcelos MH, Martins A, 2010. Compounds from wild mushrooms with antitumor potential. Anticancer Agents Med Chem 10 (5): 424-436. https://doi.org/10.2174/1871520611009050424

Ferris R, Peace AJ, Newton AC, 2000. Macrofungal communities of lowland Scots pine (Pinussylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Piceaabies (L.) Karsten.) Plantations in England: relationships with site factors and stand structure. For Ecol Manage 131: 255–267.

Friis BI, Demissew S, Breugel P, 2010. Atlas of the potential vegetation of Ethiopia. The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Copenhagen. 306pp.

Frøslev TG, Aanen DK, Læssøe T, Rosendahl S, 2003. Phylogenetic relationships of Termitomyces and related taxa. Mycol Res 107 (11): 1277–1286. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953756203008670

Gebrelibanos M, Megersa N, Tadesse AM, 2016. Levels of essential and non-essential metals in edible mushrooms cultivated in Haramaya, Ethiopia. Int J Food Cont 3(2). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40550-016-0025-7

Gizaw B, 2010. Cultivation and yield performance of Pholiotanameko on Different agro industrial wastes. Msc thesis. Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Goldmann K, Schöning I, Buscot F, Wubet T, 2015. Forest management type influences diversity and community composition of soil fungi across temperate forest ecosystems. Front Microbiol 6: 1300. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2015.01300

Gryzenhout M, Roets F, de Villiers R, 2010. Fungal conservation in Africa. Mycologia Balcanica 7: 43–48.

Härkönen M, Niemela T, Mwasumbi L, 2003. Tanzanian Mushrooms. Edible, harmful and other fungi. Botanical Museum publisher. Helsinki, Finland. 200 pp.

Hjortstam K, Ryvarden L, 1996. New and interesting wood-inhabiting fungi (Basidiomycotina-Aphyllophorales) from Ethiopia. Mycotaxon 60:181-190.

Högberg P, Piearce GD, 1986. Mycorrhizas in Zambian trees in relation to host taxonomy, vegetation type and successional patterns. J Ecol 74(3): 775-785. https://doi.org/10.2307/2260397

IBC (Institute of Biodiversity Conservation), 2005. National biodiversity strategy and action plan. December, 2005. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Lulekal E, Asfaw Z, Kelbessa E, Damme PV, 2011. Wild edible plants in Ethiopia: a review on their potential to combat food insecurity. Afrikafocus 24 (2): 71-121.

Mediavilla O, Olaizola J, Santos-del-Blanco L, Oria-de-Rueda JA, Martín-Pinto P, 2016. Mycorrhization between Cistus ladanifer L. and Boletus edulis Bull is enhanced by the mycorrhiza helper bacteria Pseudomonas fluorescens Migula. Mycorrhiza 26 (2): 161 – 168. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00572-015-0657-0

Megersa S, Gure A, Feleke S, Alemu M, 2017. Macrofungi species richness and diversity in Dagaga and Gambo plantation and natural forests of Arsi forest enterprise, Oromia, Ethiopia. IJIR 3(1): 1681 -1686.

Miller RM, Lodge DJ, 1997. Fungal Response to Disturbance: Agriculture and Forestry, In: Söderström B.E., (Ed.), The Mycota IV environmental and microbial relationships, Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 47-68 pp.

Muleta D, Woyessa D, Yanealem T, 2013. Mushroom consumption habits of Wacha Kebele resident, southwestern Ethiopia. Global Research Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences 4(1): 6-16.

Munyanziza E, 1994. Miombo trees and mycorrhizae: ecological strategies, a basis for afforestation. Doctoral thesis. Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands.

Okhuoya JA, Akpaja EO, Osemwegie OO, Oghenekaro AO, Ihayere CA, 2010. Nigerian Mushrooms: underutilized Non-Wood Forest Resources. J Appl Sci Environ Manage 14(1): 43 – 54. https://doi.org/10.4314/jasem.v14i1.56488

Osarenkhoe O, John O, Theophilus D, 2014. Ethnomycological conspectus of West African mushrooms: An Awareness Document. Advances in Microbiology 4: 39-54. https://doi.org/10.4236/aim.2014.41008

Pegler DN, 1977. A preliminary Agaric flora of East Africa. Kew Bull Add Ser VI, London. 615 pp.

Pegler DN, Rayner RW, 1969. A contribution to the Agaric flora of Kenya. Kew Bulletin 23(3): 347- 412. https://doi.org/10.2307/4117177

Peredo H, Oliva M, Huber A, 1983. Environmental factors determining the distribution of Suillus luteus fructifications in Pinus radiata grazing-forest plantations. Plant and Soil 71: 367-370. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02182677

Perry DA, Molina R, Amaranthus MP, 1987. Mycorrhizae, mycorrhizas, and reforestation: current knowledge and research needs. Can J For Res17: 929-940. https://doi.org/10.1139/x87-145

Sarma TC, Sarma I, Patiri BN, 2010. Wild edible mushrooms used by some ethnic tribes of Western Assam. The Bioscan 3:613 -625.

Sefidi K, Etemad V, 2015. Dead wood characteristics influencing macrofungi species abundance and diversity in Caspian natural beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) forests. Forest Syst 24(2):eSC03. https://doi.org/10.5424/fs/2015242-06039

Semwal KC, Lemma H, Dhyani A, Equar G, Amhare S, 2014. Mushroom: Nature's Treasure in Ethiopia. MEJS 6(2): 138-147.

Sitotaw R, Li Y, Wei T-Z, Abate D, Yao Y-J, 2015a. Two new records of Agaricus species from Ethiopia. Mycotaxon 130(4): 1171-1183. https://doi.org/10.5248/130.1171

Sitotaw R, Mulat A, Abate D, 2015b. Morphological and molecular studies on Termitomyces species of Menge district, Assosa Zone, Northwest Ethiopia. Sci Technol Arts Res J 4: 49-57. https://doi.org/10.4314/star.v4i4.7

Teketay D, 2001. Deforestation, wood famine and environmental degradation in Ethiopia's high land ecosystems. Urgent need for action. Northeast African studies 8: 53-76. https://doi.org/10.1353/nas.2005.0020

Tuno N, 2001. Mushroom utilization by the Majangir, an Ethiopian tribe. Mycologist 15(2): 78-79. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0269-915X(01)80087-2

Vásquez-Gassibe P, Oria-de-Rueda JA, Santos-del-Blanco L, Martín-Pinto P, 2016. The effects of fire severity on ectomycorrhizal colonization and morphometric features in Pinus pinaster Ait. seedlings. Forest Syst 25(1) e050. https://doi.org/10.5424/fs/2016251-07955

Yamada A, Inoue T, Wiwatwitaya D, Ohkuma M, Kudo T, Abe T, Sugimoto A, 2005. Carbon mineralization by termites in tropical forests, with emphasis on fungus-combs. Ecol Res 20:453-460. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11284-005-0062-9

Yehuala K, 2008. Potentials and constraints of mushroom production in Ethiopia. A Paper Presented at national mushroom conference, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. January 5.

DOI: 10.5424/fs/2017261-10790

Webpage: www.inia.es/Forestsystems