The King Tuber Mushroom - Pleurotus tuber-regium - A good source of proteins
Member of the Pleurotaceae family, Pleurotus tuber-regium is a tropical and subtropical mushroom which occurs in China, Australia and Africa, and produces a sclerotium, or underground tuber, as well as a mushroom. Both the sclerotium and the mushroom are edible and medicinal.
The mushroom looks somewhat like an oyster mushroom, except that, when mature, the cap curves upward to form a cup-like shape. The sclerotium is spherical to ovoid and can be quite large - up to 30 cm or larger in diameter. It is dark brown on the outside and white on the inside.
This mushroom is one of the species commonly eaten in Nigeria. Currently there are a number of experimental studies intended to its commercial production, and also quantitative tests on its nutritional properties. Those studies cannot be overemphasized in view of its potential contribution to agricultural production and as a source of cheap protein.
Photo credit: ©greenzaku | Locality: Dwyer plantation unit, Dwyer road, near Imbil, Queensland, Australia (2009)