What are the different types of mushrooms available?

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Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Although numerous types of mushrooms provide wonderful tastes, textures, and healthful properties, these three mushroom superstars have been recently receiving widespread attention due to their health benefits and, as a result, are increasingly available:
  • Shiitake (Lentinus edodes): These have fleshy, brown, slightly convex caps that range in diameter from about 2 to 4 inches. Shiitakes are cultivated on logs in the United States and in many East Asian countries for their meaty, robust flavor and texture.
  • Maitake (Grifola frondosa): Cultivated on tree stumps, these mushrooms grow in a formation of clustered brownish 1-to-2-inch fronds forming a fan shape. Commonly known as "Hen of the Woods," maitakes have a mild, slightly aromatic flavor.
  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): These usually have an antler or rounded fan shape, with the most popular type of reishi being red in color, although that is just one of the six colors in which they grow. These mushrooms are cultivated on dead trees and are very woody. Therefore, they generally are not eaten but cooked and removed from dishes.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.