Schizophyllum commune: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Schizophyllum commune Mushroom
Schizophyllum commune is a common basidiomycete bracket fungus found on rotten wood. Often seen on sickly hardwood trees, but equally common on dead wood including cut timber, the fungus usually grows as a sessile bracket. On the undersides of branches, however, it more often forms centrally-attached circular fans, as shown on the left, below.
The splits in the gills of Schizophyllum commune close over the fertile surfaces as the fruitbody shrivels during prolonged dry weather, rehydrating when moistened by rain; then the splits reopen, the spore-producing surfaces are exposed to the air, and spores are released.
This mushroom can survive several such cycles of dehydration and rehydration, a facility that enables these fungi to live on every continent on earth except Antarctica.
Schizophyllum commune is easily recognized. Its tiny fruiting bodies lack stems, and they attach themselves like tiny bracket fungi on the deadwood of deciduous trees.
Schizophyllum commune Identification
Saprobic on dead wood or occasionally parasitic on living wood; growing alone or, more frequently, gregariously to clustered; on decaying hardwood sticks and logs (even on planks and boards); year-round (it survives by shriveling up and waiting for more moisture); widely distributed in North America and throughout the world.
1-5 cm wide; fan-shaped when attached to the side of the log; irregular to shell-shaped when attached above or below; upper surface covered with small hairs, dry, white to grayish or tan; under surface composed of gill-like folds that are split down the middle, whitish to grayish; without a stem; flesh tough, leathery, pallid.
Spore Print: White.
Schizophyllum commune Edible
Although European and US guidebooks list it as inedible, this is apparently due to differing standards of taste rather than known toxicity, being regarded with little culinary interest due to its tough texture. S. commune is, in fact, edible and widely consumed in Mexico and elsewhere in the tropics.
In Northeast India, in the state Manipur it is known as kanglayen and one of the favorite ingredients for Manipuri-style pancakes called paaknam. In Mizoram, the local name is pasi (pa means mushroom, si means tiny) and it is one of the highest-rated edible mushrooms among the Mizo community. The authors explain the preference for tough, rubbery mushrooms in the tropics as a consequence of the fact that tender, fleshy mushrooms quickly rot in the hot humid conditions there, making their marketing problematic.
Schizophyllum commune Health Benefits
Sizofilan (SPG), a simple glucan produced in a culture medium by Schizophyllum commune Feries, was used as an assistant immunotherapy in 15 patients with head and neck cancer.
Immunological parameters showed that the SPG group quickly recovered the cellular immunity damaged by radiation, chemotherapy and surgical procedure. SPG was found to be effective as an assistant immunotherapeutic agent in the treatment of head and neck.
A neutral glucan isolated from the culture filtrate of Schizophyllum commune, on the production of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin 2 (IL 2) from the mitogen-stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC).
These results suggest that the increased production of IFN-γ and IL 2 may be responsible for the anti-tumor activity of this glucan.
Antioxidant properties of hot water extract (HWE), hot water extracted polysaccharides (HWP) and hot alkali extracted polysaccharides (HWAE) were obtained from fruiting bodies of the wild basidiomycete Schizophyllum commune.
The EC50 values of the antioxidant activity, of the DPPH scavenging, and of the reducing power were correlated with total polysaccharide as well as with total phenol content. The antioxidant activities of all the extracts may be caused by both polysaccharides and polyphenols or by a complex of both.
Schizophyllum commune Taxonomy & Etymology
The great Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries gave the Split Gill mushroom its current scientific name in 1815.
Synonyms of Schizophyllum commune include Agaricus alneus L., Agaricus multifidus Batsch, and Apus alneus (L.) Gray.
Schizophyllum commune is the type species of its genus, which is very small with only half a dozen separate species identified to date. Schizophyllum amplum (Lév.) Nakasone is the only other member of this genus currently recorded in Britain.
It's not hard to work out that the generic name Schizophyllum simply means split leaves (split gills, in this instance), while the specific epithet commune is also as plain as it appears, having the same basis as common or communal - meaning shared, and implying that this species is shared all over the world.
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