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Indigenous knowledge and utilization of edible mushrooms in parts of Southern Ghana
Indigenous knowledge on edible fungi in Ghana has mostly been limited to rural people. Edible mushrooms are collected from forest reserves, secondary forests and fields under fallow. However, with the current rate of bush burning and deforestation, collection of edible mushrooms from the wild is threatened. A survey was carried out in Southern Ghana to gather information on local knowledge and utilization of edible mushrooms. Mushroom collectors, consumers and traders were interviewed using structured questionnaires in local markets, homes and along roadsides. Thirty different mushrooms with their vernacular names were listed by correspondents. The commonest species collected for consumption are Volvariella volvacea (Bull.: Fr) Singer (Straw/Oil palm mushroom), Termitomyces globulus (Pat.) Heim, T. microcarpus (Berk. & Br.) Heim, T. schimperi (Pat.) Heim, T. robustus (Pat.) Heim and Coprinus disseminatus (Pers.: Fr.) S. F. Gray. Among the local people, names of edible mushrooms are based on the substrates on which they grow, their association with insects, and unrelated taxa are given collective names. Rural people believe mushrooms have medicinal values and can serve as blood tonic, reduce obesity and lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients among others. Mushroom consumption is however, low since mushrooms collected are rather exchanged for money to buy fish or meat which is often less expensive. Women are especially involved in mushroom collection and have extensive knowledge regarding mushrooms as well as deriving incomes from them.
Keywords: Rural people, edible mushrooms, vernacular names, medicinal purposes
Ghana Journal of Forestry Vol. 19 & 20 2006: pp. 20-34