Shiitake cultivation guide and properties

Hello Agromáticos. Today we do not touch the world of plants but we have decided to talk about mushrooms and fungi. We enter fully into the world of mycology with the hiitake . If you have never heard this name, keep reading because it will surely interest you. In fact, its study and commercialization is booming due to its anticancer (confirmed) and immunological properties. Let’s get started!


We begin with a brief introduction about Shiitake. The scientific name of this edible mushroom is Lentinula edodes or Lentinus edodes, although it is known, especially in Japan (and from there it has been extrapolated to other countries and languages) as Shiitake. If we translate it from the Chinese language, literally the result of this word is something like “delicious mushroom”.

  • Kingdom : Fungi
  • Class : Agaricomycetes
  • Order : Agaricales
  • Family : Marasmiaceae
  • Genus : Lentinula

The origin of Shiitake dates back to China 1,000 years ago , although it is suspected that it was known even earlier. Even in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) there was already evidence of the healthy and healing properties of this edible mushroom. Its name is given because it used to appear on the trunk of the Shii tree ( Castanopsis cuspidata) of the Fagaceae family, a tree native to the Asian region of Japan and Korea.i


Apart from the nutritional properties of Shiitake, it has also been known for a long time for its healing properties . These are some of its benefits.

  • Anti-cancer properties: a polysaccharide (lentinan β-D-glucan) with these properties demonstrated in mice is extracted from the mushroom .
  • Antioxidant properties: it has vitamins A, E and C.
  • Properties to prevent coronary diseases: Shiitake is rich in lenthionin, a compound that inhibits platelet production, and is an effective treatment against thrombosis.
  • Properties against high blood pressure.
  • Cholesterol reduction through eritadenine.


When it comes to growing Lentinula edodes we can do it in two ways, using natural substrates or artificial substrates. The natural ones correspond to the trunks of trees (such as the tree of Asian origin that we have mentioned before, the Shii), and on which they are inoculated directly. Artificial substrates are made up of mixtures of inorganic and organic substances whose premise is that it needs sterilization, and which is usually made up of wood debris and cereal grains.


This method consists of inoculating the mushroom on pieces of wood on the bark or on perforations that are made and that can be covered with some material to avoid the entry of microorganisms harmful to the development of Lentinula edodes.

The conditions that must be kept for the development of Shiitake are those of a temperature between 25 and 30º C (which can practically only be achieved in a greenhouse), a humidity between 70 and 80%, dark conditions during the colonization of the fungus.


This method is the most used for its convenience and consists of the elaboration of an artificial substrate , as we have commented before, consisting of wood sawdust, cereals and gypsum or calcium carbonate . All these materials will undergo a heat treatment to establish aseptic conditions in the development of the Shiitake . With this method , mushroom productions are achieved in 3 or 4 months .

When preparing it, if you want to prepare the substrate from the beginning, getting the “ingredients” is simple, but the problem lies in achieving total sterilization . If this is not done, in a matter of days a mass of fungi and other microorganisms will form that will cover the entire substrate and will make it impossible for the Shiitake to grow. The grains are usually washed and soaked to remove dust and other impurities. They must also be sterilized later in an autoclave at 121ºC and 30 min, an element that we obviously do not have at home. Like the inoculation process, which we will need asepsis conditions, Petri dishes, etc.

All of the latter makes the most comfortable and economical in the long run to buy ready-made bags , which in most cases are for less than € 30, carry instructions and come ready-made so that you only have to offer the Shiitake , the optimal weather conditions for its development, and which are the ones we have mentioned before regarding temperature, humidity and lighting.

As you can see, this has been more of a summary of the necessary conditions that are needed to grow Shiitake, and in general, those of any fungus, such as those of the Pleurotus ostreatus culture .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *