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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Past and Present of Latin American Ethnomycology


This essay expands the boundaries of so-called “folk” perceptions or Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of Latin American mycology through a review of fungi in ethnographic and scientific research. I focus on macrofungi, but also address the microscopic ambient yeasts and molds which have been essential to fermentation since the origins of agriculture (despite a lack of documentation in ancient societies). The research of cultural uses and perceptions of mushrooms and other fungi is called ethnomycology– a field that receives far too little attention.

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