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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Marasmiaceae
Genus: Lentinula
Species: L. edodes
Binomial name
Lentinula edodes
(Berk.) Pegler (1976)
Lentinula edodes
Mycological characteristics
gills on hymenium
cap is convex
hymenium is free
stipe is bare

spore print is white

to buff
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: choice

The shiitake (   , species Lentinula edodes) is an edible mushroom native to East Asia, which is cultivated and consumed in many Asian countries. It is considered a medicinal mushroom in some forms of traditional medicine.[1]


  • Taxonomy and naming 1
  • Habitat and distribution 2
  • Cultivation history 3
  • Culinary use 4
  • Research 5
    • Health effects 5.1
      • Shiitake dermatitis 5.1.1
    • Other uses 5.2
  • Gallery 6
  • References 7
    • Cited literature 7.1
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

Taxonomy and naming

The fungus was first described scientifically as Agaricus edodes by Miles Joseph Berkeley in 1877.[2] It was placed in the genus Lentinula by David Pegler in 1976.[3] The fungus has acquired an extensive synonymy in its taxonomic history:[4]

  • Agaricus edodes Berk. (1878)
  • Armillaria edodes (Berk.) Sacc. (1887)
  • Mastoleucomyces edodes (Berk.) Kuntze (1891)
  • Cortinellus edodes (Berk.) S.Ito & S.Imai (1938)
  • Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Singer (1941)
  • Collybia shiitake J.Schröt. (1886)
  • Lepiota shiitake (J.Schröt.) Nobuj. Tanaka (1889)
  • Cortinellus shiitake (J.Schröt.) Henn. (1899)
  • Tricholoma shiitake (J.Schröt.) Lloyd (1918)
  • Lentinus shiitake (J.Schröt.) Singer (1936)
  • Lentinus tonkinensis Pat. (1890)
  • Lentinus mellianus Lohwag (1918)

The mushroom's Japanese name shiitake (kanji: 椎茸) is composed of shii, the name of the tree Castanopsis cuspidata that provides the dead logs on which it is typically cultivated, and take meaning "mushroom".[5] The specific epithet edodes is derived from the Latin word for "edible".[6]

It is also commonly called "Sawtooth oak mushroom", "black forest mushroom", "black mushroom", "golden oak mushroom", or "oakwood mushroom".[7]

Habitat and distribution

Shiitake mushrooms grow in groups on the decaying wood of deciduous trees, particularly shii, chestnut, oak, maple, beech, sweetgum, poplar, hornbeam, ironwood, mulberry, and chinquapin (Castanopsis spp.). Its natural distribution includes warm and moist climates in southeast Asia.[5]

Cultivation history

The earliest written record of shiitake cultivation is seen in the "Records of Long Quan County" (龍泉縣志) compiled by He Zhan (何澹) in 1209 during the Southern Song Dynasty. The 185-word description of shiitake cultivation from that literature was later crossed-referenced many times and eventually adapted in a book by a Japanese horticulturist Satō Chūryō (佐藤中陵) in 1796, the first book on shiitake cultivation in Japan.[8]

The Japanese cultivated the mushroom by cutting shii trees with axes and placing the logs by trees that were already growing shiitake or contained shiitake spores. Before 1982, the Japanese variety of these mushrooms could only be grown in traditional locations using ancient methods. A 1982 report on the budding and growth of the Japan Islands variety revealed opportunities for commercial cultivation in the United States.[9]

Shiitake mushrooms are now widely cultivated all over the world, and contribute about 25% of total yearly production of mushrooms.[10] Commercially, shiitake mushrooms are typically grown in conditions similar to their natural environment on either artificial substrate or hardwood logs, such as oak.[9][10][11]

Culinary use

Mushrooms, shiitake, dried
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 1,238 kJ (296 kcal)
75.37 g
Sugars 2.21 g
Dietary fiber 11.5 g
0.99 g
9.58 g
Thiamine (B1)
0.3 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
1.27 mg
Niacin (B3)
14.1 mg
21.879 mg
Vitamin B6
0.965 mg
Folate (B9)
163 μg
Vitamin C
3.5 mg
Vitamin D
3.9 μg
11 mg
1.72 mg
132 mg
1.176 mg
294 mg
1534 mg
13 mg
7.66 mg

Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Fresh and dried shiitake have many uses in the cuisines of East Asia. In Japan, they are served in miso soup, used as the basis for a kind of vegetarian dashi, and as an ingredient in many steamed and simmered dishes. In Chinese cuisine, they are often sautéed in vegetarian dishes such as Buddha's delight. In Thailand, they may be served fried or steamed.

Shiitake are also dried and sold as preserved food. These are rehydrated by soaking in water before using. Many people prefer dried shiitake to fresh, considering that the sun-drying process draws out the umami flavour from the dried mushrooms. The stems of shiitake are rarely used in Japanese and other cuisines, primarily because the stems are harder and take longer to cook than the soft fleshy caps.

One type of high grade shiitake is called donko in Japanese[12] and dōnggū in Chinese, literally "winter mushroom". Another high grade of mushroom is called huāgū in Chinese, literally "flower mushroom", which has a flower-like cracking pattern on the mushroom's upper surface. Both of these are produced at lower temperatures.

Today, shiitake mushrooms have become popular in other countries. Russia produces and consumes large amounts of them, mostly sold pickled; and the shiitake is slowly making its way into western cuisine. There is a global industry in shiitake production, with local farms in most western countries in addition to large scale importation from China, Japan, Korea and elsewhere.

Like all mushrooms, shiitakes produce vitamin D2 upon exposure of their internal ergosterol to Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from sunlight or broadband UVB fluorescent tubes.[13][14] While all mushrooms contain ergosterol and have the potential to produce vitamin D2 in such a manner, the transparent white of the shiitake gills permits greater contact of the UVB with ergosterol, and very high D2 values can be achieved with exposure to broadband UVB fluorescent tubes.[15]


Health effects

Basic research is ongoing to assess whether consumption of shiitake mushrooms affects disease properties,[16][17][18] although no effect has been proven with sufficient human research to date.[19]

Shiitake dermatitis

Rarely, consumption of raw or slightly cooked shiitake mushrooms may cause an allergic reaction called "shiitake dermatitis", including an erythematous, micro-papular, streaky pruriginous rash that occurs all over the body including face and scalp, appearing about 24 hours after consumption, possibly worsening by sun exposure and disappearing after 3 to 21 days.[20] This effect, presumably caused by the polysaccharide, lentinan,[20] is more common in Asia[21] but may be growing in occurrence in Europe as shiitake consumption increases.[20] Thorough cooking may eliminate the allergenicity.[22]

Other uses

There is research investigating the use of shiitake mushrooms in production of organic fertilizer and compost from hardwood.[11][10]



  1. ^ "Shiitake Mushroom". 
  2. ^ Berkeley MJ. (1877). "Enumeration of the fungi collected during the Expedition of H.M.S. 'Challenger', 1874–75. (Third notice)". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 16 (89): 38–54.  
  3. ^ Pegler D. (1975). "The classification of the genus Lentinus Fr. (Basidiomycota)". Kavaka 3: 11–20. 
  4. ^ (Berk.) Pegler"Lentinula edodes"GSD Species Synonymy: . Species Fungorum. CAB International. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  5. ^ a b Wasser S. (2004). "Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)". In Coates PM, Blackman M, Cragg GM, White JD, Moss J, Levine MA. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. CRC Press. pp. 653–64.  
  6. ^ Halpern GM. (2007). Healing Mushrooms. Square One Publishers. p. 48.  
  7. ^ Stamets 2000, p. 260
  8. ^ Miles PG, Chang S-T. (2004). Mushrooms: Cultivation, Nutritional Value, Medicinal Effect, and Environmental Impact. CRC Press. p. 241.  
  9. ^ a b Leatham GF. (1982). "Cultivation of shiitake, the Japanese forest mushroom, on logs: A potential industry for the United States" (PDF). Forest Products Journal (Forest Products Research Society) 32 (8): 29–35. 
  10. ^ a b c Vane CH. (2003). "Monitoring decay of black gum wood (Nyssa sylvatica) during growth of the Shiitake mushroom (Lentinula edodes) using diffuse reflectance infrared spectroscopy". Applied Spectroscopy 57 (5): 514–517.  
  11. ^ a b Vane CH, Drage TC, Snape CE. (2003). "Biodegradation of oak (Quercus alba) wood during growth of the Shiitake mushroom (Lentinula edodes): A molecular approach". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 51 (4): 947–956.  
  12. ^ hang TS, Hayes WA. (2013). The Biology and Cultivation of Edible Mushrooms. Elsevier Science. p. 470.  
  13. ^ Mushrooms and vitamin D
  14. ^ Lee GS, Byun HS, Yoon KH, Lee JS, Choi KC, Jeung EB (March 2009). "Dietary calcium and vitamin D2 supplementation with enhanced Lentinula edodes improves osteoporosis-like symptoms and induces duodenal and renal active calcium transport gene expression in mice". Eur J Nutr 48 (2): 75–83.  
  15. ^ Ko JA, Lee BH, Lee JS, Park HJ. (2008). )"Agaricus bisporus) and white button mushroom (Lentinus edodes"Effect of UV-B exposure on the concentration of vitamin D2 in sliced shiitake mushroom (. J Agric Food Chem. 50 (10): 3671–3674.  
  16. ^ Nakano H, Namatame K, Nemoto H, Motohashi H, Nishiyama K, Kumada K. (1999). "A multi-institutional prospective study of lentinan in advanced gastric cancer patients with unresectable and recurrent diseases: effect on prolongation of survival and improvement of quality of life. Kanagawa Lentinan Research Group". Hepato-gastroenterology 46 (28): 2662–8.  
  17. ^ Oba K, Kobayashi M, Matsui T, Kodera Y, Sakamoto J. (2009). "Individual patient based meta-analysis of lentinan for unresectable/recurrent gastric cancer". Anticancer Research 29 (7): 2739–45.  
  18. ^ Bisen PS, Baghel RK, Sanodiya BS, Thakur GS, Prasad GB. (2010). "Lentinus edodes: a macrofungus with pharmacological activities". Current Medicinal Chemistry 17 (22): 2419–30.  
  19. ^ "Shiitake mushroom". WebMD. 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  20. ^ a b c Boels D, Landreau A, Bruneau C, Garnier R, Pulce C, Labadie M, de Haro L, Harry P. (2014). "Shiitake dermatitis recorded by French Poison Control Centers – New case series with clinical observations". Clinical Toxicology 52 (6): 625–8.  
  21. ^ Hérault M, Waton J, Bursztejn AC, Schmutz JL, Barbaud A. (2010). "[Shiitake dermatitis now occurs in France]". Annales de dermatologie et de vénéréologie 137 (4): 290–3.  
  22. ^ Welbaum GE. (2015). Vegetable Production and Practices. CAB International. p. 445.  

Cited literature

  • Stamets, P. (2000). Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms (3rd ed.). Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press.  

Further reading

  • Shen, J. et al. "An Evidence-based Perspective of Lentinus Edodes (Shiitake Mushroom) for Cancer Patients" (pp. 303–317), in: Evidence-based Anticancer Materia Medica (editor: William C. S. Cho). 2011. Springer. ISBN 978-94-007-0525-8
  • Tsuji, Shizuo (1980). Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art. New York: Kodansha International/USA.
Journal articles
  • Lindequist, U.; Niedermeyer, T.H.J.; Jülich, W.D. (2005). "The pharmacological potential of mushrooms". Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2 (3): 285–99.  

External links

  • Lentinula edodes in Index Fungorum.
  • ) mushrooms as good sources of nutrientsPleurotus ostreatus) and oyster (Lentinula edodesDried shiitake (
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