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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
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ISSN Imprimir: 1521-9437
ISSN En Línea: 1940-4344

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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v2.i2.10
29 pages

Genus Pleurotus (Jacq.: Fr.) P. Kumm. (Agaricomycetideae): Diversity, Taxonomic Problems, and Cultural and Traditional Medicinal Uses

Gastón Guzmán
Instituto de Ecologia, Apartada Postal 63, Xalapa, Veracruz 91000, Mexico


The taxonomic difficulties in the identification of the species of Pleurotus are extensively discussed. The problems are attributable to the great variation and wide distribution, as well as the magnified use of genetic and biochemistry studies of strains not clearly identified. More than 1000 species of Pleurotus have been described throughout the world, in more than 25 related and/or confused genera. However, only approximately 50 valid species are recognized in Pleurotus. Modern studies based on biochemical and molecular research and interbreeding tests are useful if they are based on the macro- and microscopic morphocharacters, as well as on the color of the basidioma, the spore print, and the type of hyphal system, all of which play an important role in the taxonomic classification of the genus. Of the more than 71 names related to Pleurotus discussed in the present article, only approximately 24 are considered as valid species in this genus. More than 20 species of Pleurotus are reported from Mexico, of which only seven seem valid taxa. P. ostreatus is apparently the species studied the most, but at the same time numerous taxonomic problems exist in its delimitation. The wild-type is unknown in Mexico; moreover, it is the most reported and cultivated, both for commercial and research uses, together with P. pulmonarius, P. columbinus, and P. djamor, the latter divided into three varieties, but all of them are of interbreeding among them. The traditional uses of the species of Pleurotus are revised. Approximately 100 common names of these mushrooms are known in Mexico. Several species of Pleurotus are used in traditional medicine for approximately 35 disorders or diseases.

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