Economic Botany

, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 530–539 | Cite as

Declining Wild Mushroom Recognition and Usage in Burkina Faso

  • K. Marie Laure GuissouEmail author
  • Anne Mette Lykke
  • Philippe Sankara
  • Sita Guinko
Special Mushroom Issue


Declining Wild Mushroom Recognition and Usage in Burkina Faso. Ethnomycological investigation was carried out in Burkina Faso, West Africa, using standardized interviews focused on 40 representative mushroom species assembled in a traveling herbarium (photographs plus preserved specimens). A total of 540 informants from 18 localities representing three main ethnic groups—Mòosé, Bobo, and Gouin—were interviewed, though the bulk of those interviewed were Mòosé (or Mossi) from the more populous central region of the country. Among the study species, as many as 24 were considered edible by the different ethnic groups; a few medicinal uses also were noted. The edibility of a common Chlorophyllum species is confirmed for the three ethnic groups. Mushroom nomenclature is not well developed in any of the three groups as evidenced by the fact that many mushrooms, including some common edible species, do not appear to have specific local names, but are instead simply referred to by a general term for “mushroom.” Preliminary observations about inter–ethnic variation in recognition, naming, and appreciation of mushrooms are noted. Older people recognized many more mushroom species than did younger people, and women appeared to be slightly more knowledgeable about mushrooms than men. The most important finding is that the gathering and consumption of wild edible mushrooms seems to be dying out in Burkina Faso, especially in the central part of the country, apparently because of declining mushroom populations resulting from disappearing forest habitats.

Key Words

Ethnomycology wild edible mushrooms West Africa deforestation rural livelihoods 



We thank the DANIDA ENRECA project (104.DAN.8 L/203), which financed the present study; Fleming Nørgaard, for drawing the map; and Glenn H. Shepard, Jr. and David Arora for extensive editing of the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Marie Laure Guissou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anne Mette Lykke
    • 2
  • Philippe Sankara
    • 3
  • Sita Guinko
    • 3
  1. 1.Université de Koudougou, Ecole Normale SupérieureOuagadougouBurkina Faso
  2. 2.Department of Systematic Botany, Institute of Biological SciencesUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark
  3. 3.Université de Ouagadougou, Unité de Formation et de Recherche en Science de la Vie et de la Terre, Laboratoire de Biologie et Écologie VégétalesOuagadougou 03Burkina Faso

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