Mushroom is a popular term to indicate the basidiome or ascomata of fungi, which are the structure of sexual reproduction and belong to the group of basidiomycetes or ascomycetes, respectively. The references made to mushrooms belong mostly to basidiomycetes, and for ascomycetes, the best-known mushroom is an edible species, the Morchella.
As a general characteristic of fungi, mushrooms are heterotrophic organisms, i.e. they depend on other living beings for nutrition. The way they obtain nutrients is when they release enzymes into the environment, which degrade organic and inorganic matter for subsequent absorption through the cell wall of the hyphae.
The large production and variety of substances allow mushrooms to grow in environments where degradation is complex, such as tree trunks and even contaminated soils. In their natural habitat, shiitake mushrooms grow on old logs or dead tree trunks.
Shiitake mushrooms are edible, fragrant and popular in East Asian cuisine. These mushrooms have a strong earthy flavor and a chewy texture. They have large fleshy heads and hard (woody) stems.