Delicious Edible Mushroom from Dry Temperate Cold Desert of Lahaul

Spread the love

A Highly Delicious Edible Mushroom from Dry Temperate Cold Desert Zone of Lahoul Valley in Himachal Pradesh (India)

American-Eurasian J. Agric. & Environ. Sci., 13 (1): 44-49, 2013
ISSN 1818-6769 © IDOSI Publications, 2013
Pleuratus himalayaensis Dhancholia
S. Dhancholia
Centre for Mushroom Research and Training, Department of Plant Pathology,
CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Palampur -176 061 (H.P.), India
PDF Link

Abstract:

A new species of Pleurotus himalayaensis sp. nov. was collected growing in association with a threatened perennial herbaceous host plant Ferula jaeschkeana Vatke, from the dry temperate and cold deserts region of Lahoul and Spiti (India). The mushroom appears in the surrounding of five villages viz., Kwaring (3400 mts), Meh (4000), Shakoli (2900 mts) Sumnam (3100 mts) and Tandi (2900 mts) which covers approximately 50 – 60 square kilometres of area in the whole valley. Similarly, the distribution of host plant is also  restricted within this area. People in Lahoul valley find the mushroom to be highly delicious. They collect the mushroom from the wild and consume either fresh or cut into small pieces and dry to preserve for consumption during the winters. Mushroom specimens collected from the Lahoul valley have  been deposited in the Herbarium of Department of Botany, Punjabi University, Patiala (Punjab), India for future references.

All the macroscopic as well as microscopic characters of this new species are taxonomically described and
illustrated for the first time in this paper.

Keywords: Pleurotus himalayaensis – Ferula fashchkeana – New species ~ Lahoul Spiti

INTRODUCTION

Genus Pleurntus which includes several edible species belongs to the family Pleurotaceae as reported by Kirk er al., [1]. Species of this genus are widespread in plains as well as in hills. The valley ofLahoul from which the collection has been made is situated to the South of Ladakh which falls between 32°38‘ 0″ North, 77°10‘ 0″ East, having cold deserts and sparse population and vegetation. The harsh conditions of Lahoul permit only scattered tufts of hardy grasses and shrubs to grow, even below 4,000 metres. Glacier lines are usually found above 5,000 metres. The valley lies in the dry temperate zone of the state and due to heavy snowfall in the winters it remains cutoff from the rest of the world for nearly six months due to closure of Rohtang Pass (13,000 ft) the gateway to access the valley. Pleurotus himalayensis Dhancholia sp. nov. is frequently found associated with Ferulajaeschkeana Vatke at altitudes between 2900-4000
mts a,m.s.l. in Lahoul valley of Himachal Pradesh.

The mushroom appears in the surrounding of five villages viz., Kwaring (3400 mts), Meh (4000), Shakoli (2900 mts) Sumnam (3100 mts) and Tandi (2900 mts) which covers approximately 50 – 60 square kilometres of area in the whole valley. Similarly, the distribution of host plant is also restricted within this area. The local inhabitants believe that definitely there is some correlation with the appearance of mushroom fruit bodies and the host plant but sometimes it has been noticed that although F. jaeschkeana Vatke exists but fructification of mushroom do not appear nearby. The mushroom generally fruits after the snow melt. Snowfall in the valley starts towards the mid of December to late December and continues up to the
end of January or first week of February and thereafter it starts melting slowly in the first fortnight of April. Soon after the snow melts and the temperature still varies between 6 – 12°C, the basidiocarps start appearing among the growing grass. Fructification of mushroom starts towards the last week of April and continues up to first Week of August with more frequency in the months of May-June.


Corresponding Author: S. Dhancholia, Centre for Mushroom Research and Training, Department of Plant Pathology,
CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Palampur -176 O61 (H.P.), India.

Am-Euras. J. Agric. & Environ. Sci., 13 (1): 44-49, 2013
The first fruit body appears when the Ferula plants bear 5 – 7 leaves and the surrounding soil has saturated moisture while the land is lush green with the growth of other fodder grasses. The village Sumnam is 3000 – 3100 mts a.m.s.1 in Lahoul valley is the centre of attraction for this mushroom. The village a special location named “Mokshthalza (Moksha means Mushroom and Thalza means place) or the ‘mushroom place’, in the grassland about 2.5 km from the main village. This place has a large population of F. jeschkeana Vatke with maximum production of P. himalayaensis. In this village the mushroom appears within the radius of 3-4 km and that too in patches. Total production of mushroom in this area is approximately 8-10 quintals during the season. The inhabitants of the village Sumnam believe that when the snow is less the population of the host plant increases manifold but for appearance of the mushroom rainfall should be more otherwise the fruit body population is meagre/ reduces although the host plant population has increased.
The increase in population of F. jaeschkeana Vatke
gradually reduces the appearance of other fodder grasses
nearby. The cattle‘s do not feed on F. jaeschkeana Vatke
and as such the plant is of no use to the locals except to
host the mushroom and with some medicinal properties.
It is also believed that the number of mushroom fniit
bodies develop more in quantity when the plant is under
foliar growth. Once the inflorescence develop the quantity
of mushroom appearance decline. Mushroom fruit bodies
were noticed in the first week of August when the leaves
of the host plant dries and only the spike with umbels
remains as the distinguishing part ofthe plant.
The village Kwaring (3400 mts a.m.s.l.) is inhabited
with 17 families. The host plant in this area is locally
named as “Mokshswachi” which literally mean
“mushroom plant” (Moksha means mushroom and swachi
means plant). The villagers collect nearly 80-90 kg of this
mushroom during the growing season. People in
Lahoul valley find the mushroom to be highly delicious.
They collect the mushroom from the wild and consume
either fresh or cut into small pieces and dry to preserve for
consumption during the winters. The dried fruit bodies are
soaked for some time in warm before cooking as a
vegetable. The mushroom is also gifted to friends and
relatives on special occasions. Dish of the mushroom is
also prepared during the visit of special guests.
Information regarding the mushroom and host plant from
Meh, Shakoli and Tandi villages is almost identical to
those provided by residents of Sumnam and Kwaring.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Standard techniques for collection, preservation and
description of agarics have been followed given by Atri
et al. [2]. Morphological features, habit and habitat data
were noted from fresh specimens and in the field itself.
Microscopic characters were studied by free hand
sections mounted in Lactophenol and stained with 2%
Cotton blue. Colours in description are based on Methuen
Handbook of Colours by Kornerup and Wanscher [3].
The specimens have been deposited in the Herbarium ot
Botany Department, Punjabi University Patiala under PUN
4300.
RESULTS
Taxonomy
Pleurotus Himalayaensis: Dhancholia sp. nov. Figs. 7-12.
Description-Pileus 2.5 – 23 cm across, the shape
varies widely from convex to plano-convex, sometimes
broadly depressed in the centre to applanate, milky white
to off white to cream with age, pale brownish on drying
but never yellow, surface glabrous, smooth but cracking
in some fruit bodies to expose the white flesh beneath,
margin incurved to strongly incurved with age, flesh
white, cream with age, 0.5 to 4.5 cm thick in the centre,
stuffed and spongy but shrinks on drying. Lamellae
decurrent to strongly decurrent, white to cream in colour,
0.4-1.1 cm wide, moderately thick, firm, do not get
detached easily from the pileus, edge smooth. Lamellulae
of seven types. Stipe 1.2-9 cm long and up to 3.4 cm thick,
more frequently eccentric and lateral sometimes centric,
surface white to concolorous with pileus, smooth to
striate above due to extension of the decurrent lamellae,
caespitose, wide above and slightly tapering towards
base, base attached with or enclosed in the fibrous roots
of the host plant, sometimes on soil in the vicinity of the
host plant.
Basidiospores (8) 9-14 (14.6) X 4-5.84 um, elongated,
cylindrical, broad from centre, thin walled, hyaline, with
large gullets and small oil droplets. Basidia elongated,
tetra sterigmatic ranging from 35.04-51.1 X 4.38-5.84 pm,
S t e r i g m a t a 2.92 ttm. Ple urocystidia absent. Gill edge
sterile with numerous chielocystidia. Chielocystidia,
hyaline elongated, elongated cylindrical, filled with oil
contents measuring 43. 8-54.02 X 4.3-7.0 um (Fig. 1).
Pileipellis thickness ranges 595-680 um. Pileus trama made
up of interwoven, clamped hyphae having 2.92-5.84 um
breadth, monomitic thin walled, interwoven. Gill trama
made up of interwoven hyphae having breadth 2.93 -4 pm.

Am-Euras. J. Agric. & Environ. Sci., I3 (1): 44-49, 2013

=3? ‘.
kl
ii L__.j

i ;
Q71 3.3; 9_
.’\-“‘»..~_!”l”\.’,s
f -‘9‘;
‘4
1.
‘.>_,_‘__!:; \ I-¢._: . <4.
I ‘ Tévffof. V, ‘

‘\.£“.§‘\‘E’?:‘~3‘ ‘kl-5(>’::’:,»
._~
9!;-,9′>r~\’.’.-u.–4
nI??…~,<71_’\\~\
_ __/ .
Figs. l-6: 1. F emla jaeschkeana Vatke, the host plant of P. himalayaensis. 2. Perennial host plant showing fibrous roots.
3. Associated P. himalayaensis with fibrous roots of host plant. 4. Plant association With mushroom. 5. Cracks
on pileus surface exposing white surface undemeath. 6. Variation in the shape of basidiocarps.
(7) — “in.
‘ (3)
— o,_/ (9)
lg / /.
‘\
\\~§’.E
<10) Q
O (lbw (12)
0 h
@ E ; ‘Li:
Figs. 7-12: Pleurotus himalayaensis Dhancholia sp. nov. 7. Basidjocarp (bar 4cm = 2 cm). 8. Basidiospores (bar = 10 um)
9. Basidia (bar = 10 pm) 10. Chilelocystidia (bar = 10 pm) 11. Pileus hyphae (bar = 10 pm) 12. Stipe hyphae
(bax = 10 pm).
“M or
el
46

Am-Euros. J. Agric. & Environ. Sci., 13 (1): 44-49, 2013
Stipe surface is composed of parallel arranged thick Walled
skeletal hyphae having 4.38-7.3 um breadth, unbranched,
prominently clamped.
Etymology: The host plant in this area is locally named as
“Mokshswachi” which literally mean “mushroom plant”
(Moksha means mushroom and swachi means plant)
Host Plant: Ferulajaeschkeana Vatke has been reported
to occur at an altitude of 3400 – 4000 mts. The average
density (individuals/ml) varied from 0.6 to 3.0 at various
places in Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh. It is reported to
be one of the 24 threatened plants of Himachal Pradesh as
reported by Kala [4] and Pullaiah [5]. Data on density of
this plant in Lahoul valley is yet to be recorded. It has
been observed that in Lahoul valley the distribution of
this plant is restricted in occurrence. The plant is locally
popular as “Kaldaish” and also as “Hingupatri”.
Distribution: Since the mushroom grows in association
with Femla jaeschkeana and the population of this plant
is restricted, it is presumed that the mushroom occurrence
may become threatened. Also keeping in view the
pressure on collection and consumption of this mushroom
it may one day become an endangered species similar to
that of the P. nebrodensis. Hence immediate measures are
required to conserve both the plant as well as the
mushroom. This may become easier as the distribution of
both is restricted to a particular area in Lahoul valley.
Material Examined: Pleurotus himalayaensis S.
Dhancholia : INDIA, Lahoul Spiti (3100 mts), near
village Sumnam in association with fibrous roots of
F. Jaeschkeana Vatke, 31 Aug 2010, DL 280 PUN 4300.
DISCUSSION
Pegler [6] revised descriptions of the Pleurorus
species known from the Indian subcontinent along
with a key to their identification. Watling and Gregory [7]
While studying the larger fungi of Kashmir accounted for
existence of eleven Pleurotus species in India. Manjula [8]
revised the list of the agaricoid and boletoid
basidiomycetes from India and Nepal and provided a key
of twelve Pleurotus species known to be reponed from
India.
The present species bears similarity in many respects
with P. Eryngii and P. nebrodensis (Table l – 2) such as
the geographic location, time of occurrence, fmit body
morphology etc. The pileus size in P. nebrodensis is
3 – 14.5 cm which applanate to ovoid in shape, surface
light ivory to cream, cracking (from centre) glabre,
changing sulphur yellow when dry. The lamellae are ivory
coloured. The stipe is 1.4 – 3 cm wide and 2.1 – 7.5 cm long,
equal to bulbous or slightly tapered at base in
longitudinal view, eccentric or lateral and inserted in the
root residue of Cachrys ferulacea Calert. The p i l e u s
size of the present species varies from 2.5 to 23 cm across,
the shape varies widely from convex to plano-convex,
Table 1; Comparative dCCO\lfl\0Irl\/|(1I]‘Il1()lOglC3l dctails of ricw spccics with closely rclatctl spccics
Size ofbasidiocarp
Species i=ileii.< Stipe Shape of l72\Sltll(\Ckirp smriiee Ofpileus Colour
Spore print C(\lD\\I Associated host (s)
Pleilrolus 2.5-22 cm l.2 – 9 X Convex to Cracks on mature white (4Al)
/tiliid/11)/{I€rL€!S 27 3.4 cm broadly depressed lJEiSldl(\C8I]\. N0 squamules
White (4Al) Only associated
with roots of Femla
](l.i‘h£‘hl(e’H7lt1
Pleiirolus 3.0-l4.5 cm 2. l-7.5 Convex with Cracks mostly Light ivory
nehrodensis X l .4-3.0 cm involutecl margins, in center to Cream
tlat at maturity
Light ivory
to Cream
Cachnis /Z‘!l4l£1(’€‘£4
PIEMVOTMS 4712.5 cm 1.54.5 X Convex to Spots DH mature Warm grey
Pryngii 0.5-2.5 cm mussel shaped basidiocarp. Squamules to beige butt”
present
Cream
yellow to
Light brown
Eryrigium species,
Ferulu wmmmiis,
F erulago gfllbllfll/c‘)‘l1~
Cachrys femlacea,
or light beige
Laserpitiimi species.
Table 2; Comparative £1CCO\1nt ofmicmscopical f€Zf\\.\’€5 eriiew species with closely related species
Species Basidiospore size Basidia size
Pileipellis Chielocystidia Pileus hyphae Stipe hyphae
Plfllrflfllt‘ (x) 9714 (14.6) 35.04751 .1
595-680 llm Abundant 2.92-5.84 um 4.38-7.3 um
himalayaenrir
X 4-5.84 pm (Q I 2.05)
X 4.38-5.34 pm
43. 8-54.02 iim
Pleumru r
nebrudensis
12.sels.1(els)
X 5.2-6.1 itm
40es0x
10-11.5 (14)
50760 x
6.2-1.5 (-9)
5710 pm 7
Pleurolus
Eryngii
8.0-13.ox
3.54.0 iim
30-52.1 x
718.2 imi
260-420 pm
Rare
4.l-5.5 pm 4.6-8.5 um
47

Table 3: Analysis of soil associated with host plant and mushroom
Am-Euras. J. Agric. & Environ. Sci., 13 (1): 44-49, 2013
Parameters
Test Value Medium range/Thresh hold value
Remarks
Carbon
pl-l
Nitrogen
Phosphorus
Potassium
Sulphur
Calcium
Magnesium
Iron
Manganese
Copper
Zinc
EC (us)
Boron
23
6.3
317
64
250
25.6
11.0
1.8
55.4
47.6
2.8
90
0.1
5 – 10/kg soil
6.5-7.5
2×0-sen kg/ha
10-25 kg/ha
118-280 kyha
22.5 kg/ha
1.5 meq./100
1.0 mcq./100
4.5 mg/kg
1.0 mg/kg
0.2 mg/kg
0.6 mg/kg
4 dS/m
0.5 mg/kg
High
Slightly acidic
Medium
High
Medium
Sufficicnt
Sufficient
Snfficicnt
Sutllcient
Sufficicnt
Suftlcient
Safe
Deficient
sometimes broadly depressed in the centre to applanate,
milky white to off white to cream with age, pale brownish
on drying but never sulphur yellow, surface glabrous,
smooth but cracking in some fruit bodies to expose the
white flesh beneath, margin incurved to strongly incurved
with age, flesh white, cream with age, 0.5 to 4.5 cm thick in
the centre, stuffed and spongy but shrinks on drying.
Lamellae : decurrent to strongly decurrent, white to cream
in colour, 0.4 – 1.1 cm wide, moderately thick, firm, do not
get detached easily from the pileus, edge smooth,
lamellulae of seven types. The stipe is 1.2 – 9.0 cm long
and up to 3.4 cm thick, more frequently eccentric and
lateral sometimes centric, surface white to concolorous
with pileus, smooth to striate above due to extension of
the decurrent lamellae, caespitose, wide above and
slightly tapering towards base, base attached with or
enclosed in the fibrous roots of F. jaeschkeana
Calest, sometimes on soil in the vicinity ofthe host plant.
This plant is the first new record as a host to this
mushroom in the world.
Microscopically the basidiospores of P. nebrodensis
are 12.5 – 15.1 (-18) X 5.2 – 6.1 um, cream in colour whereas
those of the present species are hyaline, measuring
(8) 9-14 (14.6) X 4-5.84 um with one large guttule and few
small oil droplets. The cheilocystidia in P. nebrodensis are
50 – 60 X 6.2 – 7.5 (-9) um whereas those of the present
species are 43. 8-54.02 um (Table 1 – 2). The h y p h a e in
P. nebrodensis are monomitic and thin walled with clamp
connections whereas those of the present species are thin
Walled, monomitic, with clamp connections in pileus and
flesh but thick walled monomitic with clamp connections
in the stipe region. From P. eryngii it differs in not having
the cream yellow to gray yellow pileus and growing under
a perennial herb (F jaeschkeanu Vatke) rather than Luider
a tree (F. communis L.). Moreover, P. nebrodensis grows
with a wide variety of host belonging to Apiaceae and
Compositae, whereas P. himulayaensis grows only in
association with F. jaeschkeanu Vatke.
Soil samples from the mushroom growing areas and
around the host plants were analysed. (Table 3) shows
the test report revealing the presence of high amounts of
Phosphorous and Boron deficient soil. The pH of the soil
is slightly acidic (6.3) having high organic carbon i.e. 23 g/
kg soil. Nitrogen and potassium content in the soil were
found to be medium i.e., 317 and 250 kg/ha, respectively.
The other elements like sulphur, calcium, magnesium, iron,
manganese and copper were found to present in sufficient
amounts. Venturella [9] reported that P. nebrodensis
grows only on limestone in northern Sicily in association
with Cachrysferulacea Calest. In the Indian Himalayas
the species of Pleurotur being reported prefers a slightly
acidic soil with pH of 6.3, although high amounts of
phosphorous are present in the soil.
The present species thus, differs considerably in
macro and microscopic characters, habit and habitat
as well as the host plant. Hence it is proposed that
P. himalayaenris Dhancholia sp. nov. is a new species
occurring only in the Himalayan region of India.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This work has been carried out as a part of the adhoc
project “Preliminary investigation on biosystematics of
macrofungi for domestication of edible species in Lahoul
valley of Himachal Pradesh” sanctioned by the Govind
Ballabh Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and
Development (GBPIHED), Almora, India, thanks are duly
acknowledged to the funding agency.

Am-Euros. J. Agric. & Environ. Sci., 13 (1): 44-49, 2013
REFERENCES
Kirk, P.M., P.F. Cannon, D.W. Minter and
J.A. Stalpers, 2008. Anisworth and Bisby’s
Dictionary of Fungi (10″‘ Ed). C.A.B. International
Wallingford, UK.
Atri N.S., A. Kaur and H. Kaur, 2005. Wild
Mushrooms-Collection and Identification. Frontiers
in Mushroom Biotechnology. (R.D. Rai, R.C.
Upadhyay and S.R. Sharma, eds). NRCM
Chambaghat, Solan, pp: 9-26.
Kornerup, A. and J.H. Wanseher, 1978. Methuen
Handbook of Colour. (3’“ Ed.) Eyre Methuen,
London.
Kala, C.P., 2000. Status and conservation of rare and
endangered medicinal plants in the Indian trans
Himalayas. Biological Conservation, 93: 371-379.
Pullaiah, T., 2002. Medicinal Plants in India. Vol. 1.
Pub. Regency Publications: 20/36, West Patel Nagar,
New Delhi.
Pegler, D.N., 1976. Pleurotus (Agaricales) in India,
Nepal and Pakistan. Kew Bull., 31(3): 501-510.
Watling, R. and N.M. Gregory, 1980. Larger Fungi
from Kashmir. Nova Hedwigia, Band XXXII.
Braunschweig 1980. J. Cramer, pp: 493-564.
Manjula, B., 1983. A revised list ofthe agaricoid and
boletoid basidiomycetes from India and Nepal. Proc.
Indian Acad. Sci. (Plant Sci), 92(2): 81-213.
Venturella, G., 2006. Pleurotus nebrodensis In : IUCN
201‘0. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version
2010.4.