Mushroom Scientific Names Aren’t That Hard (But Useful!)
Functional mushrooms are sometimes referred to by their “scientific” name, or more accurately, their latin binomial.
Admittedly, the unusual names can be confusing at first glance…
But they really aren’t that hard to learn, and actually contain some useful information.
Here’s the top 6 functional mushrooms and their latin binomial name:
1. Turkey Tail: Trametes Versicolor
Trametes means “the thin one”, referring to the thin shelf like cap of this mushroom.
Versicolor means “many colors” and refers to the beautiful striations of color that will catch your eye if you ever see it in the wild.
2. Reishi: Ganoderma lucidum
Ganoderma can be broken down into two latin words, Gano and Derma.
Gano means “shiny”, and derma means skin, so together, “shiny skin”, referring to the naturally varnished look of this mushroom.
Lucidum comes from the word “lucidus”, which also means “brilliant” or “shiny”.
3. Lion’s Mane: Hericium erinaceus
The words Hericium and erinaceus both basically mean “pertaining to hedgehog” referring to the fact that this mushroom kind of looks like a spiky little hedgehog.
Keep in mind, there are other wild mushrooms that have the common name “hedgehog mushroom”, but those are totally different!
4. Maitake: Grifola frondosa
This latin binomial basically just describes the way it looks.
Maitake is made up of a series of overlapping folds- in this case, grifola means “grouped together” and frondosa means “leafy”.
Overall it’s a good name for this tender and soft gourmet edible and functional mushroom!
5. Chaga: Inonotus obliquus
This scientific name is hard to say and hard to spell…
Chaga is a way better way to refer to it!
Inonotus roughly translates to “fibrous ear”, likely describing the woody texture and obliquus means “at an angle” which describes the angle that the fruiting body of the mushroom attacks the host tree.
6. Cordyceps: Cordyceps militaris
Finally, we have Cordyceps-
This is one of the few that has the same common name as the genus name of the species.
The name Cordy means “club” and cep is head- so club headed, which totally makes sense when you look at it.
Militaris means soldier like, which again makes sense because they kind of look like little club headed soldiers!
Pure and Powerful Mushrooms
Luckily, you don’t have to understand the scientific names to experience the benefits of nature’s most powerful superfood.