Open Journal of Forestry
Vol.06 No.05(2016), Article ID:70378,16 pages

Diversity of Wild Mushrooms in Nagaland, India

Toshinungla Ao, Jichule Seb, T. Ajungla, Chitta Ranjan Deb*

Department of Botany, Nagaland University, Lumami, India

Copyright © 2016 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY 4.0).

Received: July 23, 2016; Accepted: September 3, 2016; Published: September 6, 2016


The Indian sub-continent is blessed with favorable agro climatic conditions that are suitable to a varied range of fungal species. Though the occurrence of mushrooms is of diverse nature, they are not well studied and documented. Northeastern region of India is one of the biodiversity hotspots. Nagaland is one of the Northeastern states of India. The people of the state highly covet mushrooms and have been a delicacy since time immemorial. The present study documents the macro fungal diversity in various districts of the state. A total of 87 species of wild mushrooms were collected and identified. They are parasitic, saprophytic and ecto-mycorrhizal in habitat. The highest numbers of mushroom species were collected during May?September from the study areas. Of the collected mushrooms, 37 species were identified as edible, 21 species medicinal, 5 poisonous and 37 inedible/unclassified.


India, Macro Fungi, Mushroom Diversity, Nagaland, Poisonous, Wild Edible Mushroom

1. Introduction

Mushrooms are seasonal macro fungi and occupy diverse niches in nature in the forest ecosystem. They form macroscopic fruiting bodies such as agarics, boletes, jelly fungi, coral fungi, stinkhorns, bracket fungi, puffballs and bird’s nest fungi. They maybe fleshy, sub-fleshy, leathery or woody and bear their fertile surface either on lamellae or lining the tubes, opening out by means of pores. Agarics are the lamellate members and the tube bearing poroid members are the boletes and polypores (Deshmukh, 2004) . About 27,000 fungal species have been reported worldwide (Chang & Miles, 2004) while approximately 850 species of mushrooms are recorded in India (Deshmukh, 2004) . Studies on macro fungi have been an area of importance for the scientists in particular and the people in general, because of their role in human welfare, in food industry, in medicines, and biodegradation (Ozturk et al., 2003) . Macro fungi have the longest history of diversity studies of any mycota, but are understudied over the world. Mycologists continue to unravel the unexplored, hidden and fascinating fungal biodiversity as many macro fungi are becoming extinct or facing threat of extinction because of habitat destruction and global climate change (Swapana et al., 2008) . It is well known that mushrooms are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and have cholesterol lowering properties and are known as “host defense potentiators” (Wani et al., 2010) . Many workers have carried out studies on nutritional analysis of different species of mushrooms where it is reported different species of mushrooms are rich in protein (~30% - 48%), carbohydrate (125% - 40%), fat (1% - 4%), ash (7% - 17%), fiber (16% - 20%) etc. (Pushpa & Purushothama, 2010; Manikandan, 2011) .

Due to unsystematic collection of wild mushrooms in forest areas, deforestation and climate change the macro fungal diversity is depleting very fast. Macro fungi are cosmopolitan in nature and occur seasonally in various habitats all over the world. India is one of the top 10 mega biodiversity nations of the world fortunate to have a varied agro climate, abundance of agro wastes, relatively low cost labor and a rich fungal diversity (Borkar et al., 2015) . The North Eastern hills of India being the transitional zone between the Indian, Indo-Malayan and Indo-Chinese bio-geographical regions makes the gate way for many of India’s flora and fauna. Northeast India is also very rich in mushroom flora (Verma et al., 1995) . Very few works on mushroom diversity has been carried out in North Eastern region of India which warrants undertaking study to collect, document and conserve this resource. In the past very few works has been reported from Nagaland (Tanti et al., 2011; Ao et al., 2016) . Present study was undertaken to survey the different parts of Nagaland in different seasons for collection of wild mushrooms, identification and documentation. This paper reports the wild macro fungal diversity of Nagaland, India.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Study Areas

Nagaland lies in the north eastern part of India with 16,579 sq km geographical area which is surrounded by Myanmar in the East, Assam in the West, Arunachal Pradesh and a part of Assam in the North and Manipur in the South (Figure 1). It lies between 93˚20' to 95˚15'E and 25˚10' to 27˚40'N. The state fall under one agro-climatic zone of Mild Tropical Hill Zone and receives South West Monsoon rain in summer and North East monsoon rain in winter with an average recorded annual rainfall ranges between 2000 - 2500 mm. The temperature during summer ranges from 16˚C - 31˚C and drops as low as 4˚C during winter. Regular collection of mushrooms was done in various parts of Nagaland from October 2013-December 2015. Surveys and collections were carried out in forest areas of Kohima, Mokokchung, Tuensang, Wokha and Zunheboto district. In addition, local markets were also surveyed to gather information on the wild mushroom varieties eaten by the local population.

Figure 1. Geographical position of Nagaland.

2.2. Sample Collection

The collected mushroom samples were identified by studying its habitat and various morphological characteristics prior to preservation as described by Roy & De (1996) and with the help of standard manuals (Das & Sharma, 2005; Das, 2009; Philips, 2006) . Color codes and terms were used following Crawshay color code (1930) . Preservation of the collection specimens were done in 2% and 4% formaldehyde solution (v/v) and deposited as herbarium specimens in the Department of Botany, Nagaland University, Lumami with the accession numbers as mentioned in Table 1.

3. Results

In the present study till this report, a total of 87 species belonging to 50 genera under 38 families were recorded and identified. The detailed information is listed in Table 1 and in Figure 2(a) and Figure 2(b). Of the 87 species, 37 species were identified as edible, 21 species medicinal, 5 poisonous and 37 as inedible/unclassified. The investigation shows that the macro fungi belonging to family basidiomycetes dominate over ascomycetes. The mushrooms were collected between the altitudinal range of 800 m and 2500 m ASL while the collections decreased as the altitudinal range increased. The highest number of species was collected between the altitudinal range of 900 m and 1400 m ASL. The collected species are predominantly found to be parasitic, saprophytic and ecto-mycorrhizal in habitat.

The highest numbers of mushroom species were collected during May-August from the study areas. This period is the active mushroom hunting season of the local people. The local people identify mushrooms based on traditional knowledge which up to some extent is correct but not sufficient as often there are cases of death in the villages due to wrong identification. Present study identifies 37 species of mushrooms out of 87 species to be edible after due consultation of literature, manuals and information collected

Table 1. Wild mushrooms collected from different locations of Nagaland, India.

(a) (b)

Figure 2. (a) Wild mushrooms of Nagaland. 1. Agaricus moelleri; 2. Aleuria aurantia; 3. Amanita cokeri; 4. A. fulva; 5. A. phalloides; 6. A. rubrovolvata; 7. A. strobiliformis; 8. A. vaginata; 9. A. virosa; 10. Aureoboletus auriporus; 11. A. auricular-judae; 12. A. mesentrica; 13. A. polytricha; 14. Boletus edulis; 15. Boletus sp.; 16. Calocera viscose; 17. Cantharellus cibarius; 18. Clavaria fragilis; 19. Clavulinopsis fusiformis; 20. Coprinus comatus; 21. C. disseminates; 22. Cordyceps militaris; 23. Cortinarius purpurascens; 24. Crepidotus applanatus; 25 C. luteolus; 26. C. mollis; 27. Crucibulum leave; 28. Dacrymyces stillatus; 29. Dacryopinax spathularia; 30. Daldinia concentric; 31. Ganoderma applanatum; 32. G. lucidum; 33. Geastrum sp.; 34. Gloioxanthomyces nitidus; 35. Hericium cirrhatum; 36. Hygrocybe cantharellus; 37. H. conica; 38. H. miniata; 39. H. vitellina; 40. Hymenochaete rubiginosa; 41. Hypholoma capnoides; 42. Laccaria tortilis; 43. Lactarius piperatus; 44. L. volemus; 45. Lactifluus glaucescens; (b) Wild mushrooms of Nagaland. 46. Laetiporus sulphureus; 47. Lentinula edodes; 48. Lentinus sajor-caju; 49. Lentinus sp.; 50. L. squarrossulus; 51. Leotia lubrica; 52. Lepiota cristata; 53. Lichenomphalia umbellifera; 54. Lycoperdon perlatum; 55. Macrolepiota albuminosa; 56. Melanoleuca grammopodia; 57. Microporus xanthopus; 58. Mycena erubescens; 59. Pcynoporus cinnabarinus; 60. Phallus indusiatus; 61. Pleurotus citrinopileatus; 62. P. ostreatus; 63. P. pulmonarius; 64. Ramaria stricta; 65. Russsula nobilis; 66. R. cyanoxantha; 67. R. fragilis; 68. R. heterophylla; 69. R. natarajanii; 70. R. senecis; 71. R. sp.; 72. Sceleroderma citrinum; 73. Schizophyllum commune; 74. Strobilomyces strobilaceus; 75. Suillus luteus; 76. S. pictus; 77. Termitomyces eurhizus; 78. T. heimii; 79. T. microcarpus; 80. T. sp.; 81. Trametes gibbosa; 82. T. hirsute; 83. T. versicolor; 84. Tremella fuciformis; 85. T. mesenterica; 86. Tricholoma imbricatum; 87. Xerocomellus chrysenteron.

from the local mushroom harvesters of both the districts (Figure 2(a) & Figure 2(b)). Besides edible, 21 species was identified as medicinal. Present study reveals that some mushrooms are edible as well as medicinal. Mushrooms having economic importance are listed in Table 2 and Table 3. Since the different species grows easily on low cost substratum in the wild, wild edible mushrooms can be cheap source of nutritional food and often regarded as “poor man’s meat”. It is very clear that mushrooms have the potential to provide healthy diet to rural tribal population in the form of cheap source of proteins, dietary fiber, low cholesterol, minerals and antioxidants. During the present study, it was found that the rural population throughout the state collects the mushrooms from the wild and sells in the market without having a scientific base to separate edible mushrooms from poisonous one. Mushrooms are sold in fresh as well as dry form in local markets at comparatively through away prices compared to international market (Table 4). This is mainly because of lack of scientific knowledge of post harvest processing and packaging. This warrants awareness programme among the local community on collection, processing and packaging of wild mushrooms in order to catch good market price.

4. Discussion

Out of 87 wild mushroom species collected, 82 were identified up to species level and 5 were identified only up to the genus level. Russulaceae is the most represented family (10 species) followed by Hygrophoraceae, Amanitaceae, Polyporaceae (7 species each), Boletaceae (5 species), Agaricaceae, Lyophyllaceae (4 species each), Auriculariaceae, Dacrymycetaceae, Inocybaceae (3 species each), Suillaceae, Ganodermataceae, Tricho-

Table 2. Economic value of collected wild mushrooms.

Table 3. List of mushrooms used for different medicinal purpose.

Sources: Chang & Miles, 2004; Das, 2009; Deshmukh 2004 and present work.

Table 4. Price of some wild edible mushrooms sold in local markets of Nagaland.

Source: Mokokchung, Zunheboto market survey (Indian rupee is converted to equivalent USD).

lomataceae, Clavariaceae, Polyporaceae, Pleurotaceae, Tremellaceae, Lentinaceae (2 species each), Omphalotaceae, Hericiaceae, Hymenochaetace, Psathyrellaceae, Cortinariaceae, Sclerodermatacea, Lentinaceae, Hydnangiaceae, Mycenaceae, Strophariaceae, Gomphaceae, Geastraceae, Phallaceae, Pyronemataceae, Leotiaceae, Xylariaceae, Clavicipitaceae, Schizophyllaceae, Nidulariaceae, Cantharellaceae (1 species each). The highest numbers of mushroom species were collected during May-September from the study areas. Schizophyllum commune, Auricularia auricula-judae, A. polytricha, Lactarius piperatus, L. volemus, Sceleroderma citrinum, Termitomyces heimii, Tremella fuciformis, Tricholoma imbricatum Hygrocybe conica and Agaricus moelleri was found to be the most abundant during the season of occurrence.

Indigenous knowledge is used to identify the wild mushrooms by the tribal people, which often lead to wrong identification. The local people identifies mushroom based on phenological characters. Naming of the species is done in local dialect to keep memory and transfer the knowledge from one generation to the next (Tibuhwa, 2013; Ao et al., 2016) . Present study identifies 37 species of mushrooms out of 87species to be edible after due consultation of literature, manuals and information collected from the local mushroom harvesters. Mushrooms having economic importance are listed in Table 2 and Figure 3. Mushroom species are the indicators of the forest life support system. The presence or absence of fungal species is a useful biological indicator to assess the damage to the ecosystem. Mushrooms are known to have medicinal and neutriceutical properties and as such have gained much importance globally. Some mushrooms are regarded as neutralceuticals (Ribeiro et al., 2007; Yaltirak, 2009) . Different mushroom species grows easily on low cost substratum in the wild, thus, wild edible mushrooms can be a cheap source of nutritious food for the tribal people and often regarded as “poor man’s meat”. Mushrooms are sold in fresh as well as dry form in local markets during the season. The study of macro fungi is of significance because of its role in human welfare, medical industry, food industry and biodegradation (Ozturk et al., 2003) .

Figure 3. Different uses of wild mushrooms of Nagaland.

5. Conclusion

This is the first ever systematic study on the documentation of wild mushroom diversity of Nagaland. The findings of this study will be a reference database of wild mushroom of the state and will help in future research works.


The authors are thankful to Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, New Delhi for facilities provided through Institutional Biotech Hub. Toshinungla Ao and Jichule Seb are thankful to University Grants Commission, New Delhi, India for UGC-BSR fellowship for their Ph. D. programme.

Cite this paper

Ao, T., Seb, J., Ajungla, T., & Deb, C. R. (2016) Diversity of Wild Mushrooms in Nagaland, India. Open Journal of Forestry, 6, 404-419.


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