This book surveys the folk usage of fungi worldwide from the perspective of a specialist in germplasm conservation and research. It catalogs the scientific names of fungi used for food, medicine, and other miscellaneous applications by indigenous peoples, peasant farmers, hunter-gatherers, and others commonly referred to as “folk” in ethnographic literature.
The origins of the discipline of ethnomycology are sketched, and an argument is made for the origins of scientific mycology from the herb-wives and other “wise-women” of premodern Europe. The evolution of ethnomycology is traced from a focus on “entheogenic” fungi to broader folk practices and applications. Synopses are provided of the most important groups and species of fungi used for food or medicine or in craft production on each habitable continent or major geographic region, and a sampling of folklore pertinent to fungi in each such region is given. Multiple examples are provided of the cultivation or harvest of edible or medicinal fungi, especially when such activities sustain seasonally employed or underemployed people, such as Roma in Europe, certain immigrant groups in North America, and peasant farmers in various geographic regions.
Literature is cited to guide readers toward in situ and ex situ sources of fungal germplasm and to broader appreciation of folk uses (“primitive” biotechnology) of fungi and other anthropological aspects involving the fungal kingdom.
About the Author
Frank Dugan is a Research Plant Pathologist with the USDA-ARS Western Regional Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research Station at Washington State University. He was formerly a Collection Scientist for Mycology and Botany at American Type Culture Collections, and spent his career managing and researching diverse collections of fungal and higher plant germplasm. Dr. Dugan is also the author of the best-selling, critically acclaimed APS PRESS book The Identification of Fungi: An Illustrated Introduction with Keys, Glossary, and Guide to Literature and Fungi in the Ancient World.
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