Fungi have multiple uses in temperate areas of México, but an important decrease in the traditional knowledge of uses and customs of mushrooms becomes a fundamental issue for fungi conservation. However, only few studies quantify the traditional ethnomycological knowledge in México, and this study is the first quantitative report for Querétaro, a central state with both Otomí and Mestizo communities and a high fungi diversity.
The present study was conducted registering traditional knowledge on the use and consumption of mushrooms in three Hñähñu (Otomí) communities (Tesquedó, Xajay, and Tenasdá) in Amealco de Bonfil, Querétaro, México, between August 2013 and November 2014. We conducted a stratified sampling, where uses common Hñähñu and Spanish names, and eight quantitative variables that conform the “Edible Mushrooms Cultural Significant Index” (EMCI) were recorded from 100 informants. For the classification and ordination analysis of species and uses, we used multivariate techniques such as cluster, multidimensional scaling, and principal components (PC).
Thirty-three mushrooms species were registered, most of them used for consumption by households, few aimed for commercial purposes, one species is medicinal, another has veterinary, and other ludic uses (as a toy). The three species with the highest EMCSI were Amanita basii, Fistulinella wolfeana, and Lactarius indigo. Edibility was the main use detected in the survey, and people harvested mushrooms provided by the forest mainly during the rainy season. We observed that mushroom searching and collection are activities that strengthen the family ties and are crucial for the transfer of this knowledge through generations. Cluster analysis separates groups according to different values in EMCSI variables, and principal components ordinate the species by frequencies (PC1) and traditions (PC2).
The current state of knowledge in the studied communities is strong, especially among women, but with a tendency to disappear due to migration and lack of interest among new generations. Future quantitative studies are important to analyze tendencies of the traditional ethnomycological knowledge transferred to new generations.