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For millennia, wild edible mushrooms (WEM) had always been considered as substantial food and medicinal sources, for local communities, both Bantu and indigenous peoples. However, few information and sparse data are available on useful mushrooms of Cameroon. A study was undertaken to update the checklist of WEM in humid forests of Cameroon. From mushroom excursions, surveys and inventories, thousand fungal specimens were collected in situ, described and identified using key features and references.
Wild edible mushrooms were recruited in three trophic groups. They denoted a dissimilar national biogeographical distribution. Saprophytes and Termitomyces were encountered throughout the country; ectomycorrhizal mushrooms occurred in forest clumps, only in three regions: South, Southeast and Southwest. 117 WEM were listed belonging to 17 families and 43 genera, including nearly 22 Termitomyces, 32 ectomycorrhizal and 63 saprophyte species. 15 WEM were also claimed to have medicinal properties. This vast mushroom diversity related to various specific habitats and ecological niches. Five fungal groups were considered as excellent edible. Amanita and Boletus species were seldom consumed. Most mushroom species were harvested solely for home consumption, with the exception of Termitomyces, the only marketed mushroom. In fine, the diversity of WEM was high but poorly known and valorized. To fulfill the Nagoya convention, it is recommended to pursue mycological inventory of macrofungi in Cameroon, including the use of molecular tools and to cultivate local wild edible saprophyte mushrooms.