Home News That’s how he is "dancing mushroom" which open the door to controlled cultivation for its healthy effects

That’s how he is "dancing mushroom" which open the door to controlled cultivation for its healthy effects

That’s how he is "dancing mushroom" which open the door to controlled cultivation for its healthy effects

Its flavor has nothing to do with boletus edulis or oyster mushroom, but the leafy grifola It is a crunchier mushroom that needs longer cooking time and with a different, quite meaty touch.

This is how the director of the European Mycological Institute (EMI) defines it, Fernando Martínez Peñawho from the institution tries to make it known for its nutritional, techno-functional properties and healthy bioactive compounds of this mushroom highly appreciated in Asian culture.

The mushroom Fruits in late summer and early autumn on oak and chestnut stumps. It lives in Europe, Asia and North America. In Castilla y León it is present, although it is very little abundant, hence In no case is wild collection recommended.

What’s more, Royal Decree 30/2009 prohibits its collection and only allows the marketing of specimens from controlled crops.

“The interesting thing would be to locate and isolate local strains of grifola frondosa for cultivation, characterize its properties and value them. Commercially, strains have been cultivated for a long time, mainly Asian. It is already cultivated in Spain but on a very small scale because it is very little known,” he indicates, in statements collected by Ical.

In this sense, The EMI tries to make it known with the aim that in the medium term it can be grown in a controlled manner in greenhouses and incorporate it into the Mediterranean diet as is done with mushrooms and pleurotus ostreatus, among other species.

In countries like Japan, where it has been used for centuries, this mushroom is “very appreciated”, according to the director of the EMI, who alludes to the fact that it is a saprobic fungus and as such has its specific requirements in terms of substrate, humidity, temperature, atmosphere, and light.

In Western culture it has begun to be used in the last 20 years for its endorsed healthy properties. In Japan and China it has been ingested for centuries and It is known by the name of maitake, which literally means “dancing mushroom” for its resemblance to the flutter of butterflies.

Spanish mycologists also call it “hen of the woods,” since it grows in clusters with multiple caps that resemble the feathers of a bird. The entire cluster can measure more than one meter and weigh more than 40 kilos.


The maitake is a rare species in Spain, it mainly bears fruit at the end of summer and beginning of autumn, decomposing wood in hardwood forests such as oaks and chestnuts in the center and north of the peninsula.

This mushroom is considered a healthy food because it is a good source of proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and minerals (K, P, Na, Ca, Mg), with low fat content and low caloric value. In addition, it contains a large number of bioactive components, that is, compounds present in foods that make their intake improve our health while nourishing us.

“It is worth highlighting the glucans and glycoproteins, which present effects such as immunomodulation, antitumor, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and even prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Likewise, it contains vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) that helps the body absorb calcium and improves recovery of patients sick with Covid,” he highlights.

In this regard, the EMI alludes to the fact that if the sensory quality at both the aromatic, gustatory and texture levels of maitake is added to these, consumers are faced with a “super food” worthy of being included in our diet. on a regular basis.

One of the trends most accepted by doctors and nutritionists is what is known as the pro-vegetarian diet, which consists of reducing meat intake and increasing the consumption of foods of plant origin and of good nutritional quality.

In this context, the EMI, the Japanese Corporation Ichimasa Kamaboko Co., Ltd. and the chef from Soria, Elena Lucas of the Michelin restaurant La Lobita, have been collaborating since 2022 within the framework of the project titled ‘Exploring the use of maitake (Grifola frondosa) in the Mediterranean cuisine’.

During these months, a work group of researchers from EMI, CITA and the University of Valladolid (UVA) collaborated with Elena Lucas to propose several gastronomic innovations in which maitake is used as a complement or alternative to other typical ingredients of our Mediterranean cuisine.

The objective of this Euro-Japanese collaboration is, in addition to promote knowledge of intercultural gastronomy healthy, favor the generation of new business models in the EMI territories based on the cultivation and gastronomy of maitake.