Ndifon E. Mjaika*
Faculty of Agriculture, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Abakaliki, Nigeria
(Manuscript received 20 July 2022; accepted for publication 6 August 2023)
Abstract. Mushroom biodiversity covers some indispensable non-timber forest products that are wide-spread in Africa, although these resources are currently underutilized, underdeveloped, and left to face the vagaries of climate change and human activities unmanaged. The mushrooms of Eastern Africa have barely been identified or examined for their potential to better the livelihood of the inhabitants. This review of published-online-only literature was carried out to systematically document this biodiversity and its potentials. There were 135 edible mushrooms, 9 edible+medicine mushrooms, and 59 species with no ascribed uses out of 205 species altogether in Eastern Africa. Two mushrooms were identified as poisonous. There were 32 key edible mushrooms in Eastern Africa based on their usage. A tally of mushrooms species (based on country where they were sighted) showed that Ethiopia accounted for 96 species, Tanzania (75), Burundi (37), Rwanda (24), Kenya (18), and Uganda (6) while no information was available from the rest of the countries in the region. The most common genera of mushrooms included Termitomyces, Russula, Pleurotus, Marasmius, Lactarius, Coprinus, Cantharellus, Armillaria, Amanita, and Agaricus. While the most popular species (based on consumption by more locations/tribes) were Amanita zambiana, Hypholoma fasciculare (could be poisonous), Pleurotus cystidiosus, Polyporus tenuiculus, Termitomyces letestui, and Termitomyces striatus. However, it was observed that these tribes or locations were often only within a few countries. Therefore, truly regional mushrooms included Schizophyllum commune (could be poisonous), Suillus luteus, Termitomyces clypeatus, Termitomyces striatus, and Termitomyces microcarpus based on their being found in at least three or more countries. Fungi biodiversity conservation is inadequate in the region.