Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) have been a culinary delight in the orient for a few thousand years! Many would enjoy hunting the fragrant Shiitake of the Forest derived from Japanese (shii) for the beech trees they grew from and (take) meaning mushroom. First cultivated in 1100 A.D. by an observant mushroom hunter by the name of Wu San Kang noticing that shiitake would grow on fallen logs he began cutting the logs and
growing them out! Until the 70’s cultivation of Shiitake was prohibited in the U.S. due to its close relative the Train Wrecker Mushroom (Lentinus lepideus renamed Neolentius lepideus) which would grow on railroad ties breaking them down and causing a need for repair. In the 70’s Shiitakes Latin name was changed from Lentinus edodes to Lentinula edodes so that it could be differentiated from the Train Wrecker. Shiitake grows wild in its Native Habitat of East Asia. There have been rumors of shiitake growing wild in the U.S. With 2 confirmed cases it looks like we have a 3rd!
It was only a matter of time before Shiitake became adapted to the growing environments of North America. With more and more people growing Shiitake the spore load has never been higher, some were bound to find a fitting environment. Wild Shiitakes Found by a friendly Mycophile in the Emerald Necklace area in Brookline Massachusetts October 2015. “Fairly certain it was a pin oak… Huge oak tree was half downed in a gully, boggy pond 30 yards from it, main road might be 60 yards up a berm, third flush this year… First two were too far gone to tell for certain what it was…” say Jesse Simes the finder of the wild Shiitake. Spore prints have been taken and are being distributed to a few mycologist in the U.S. MycoSymbiotics being some of the few, we are also receiving a dry sample! We intend to culture the dry specimen and propagate the spores in hopes of a more acclimated strain of Shiitake! Look at those beautiful Caps! If you ever find Shiitake Growing Wild please dry it and send us a sample to tissue culture, Thank You!