shiitake the Japanese and also the usual western name for a forest mushroom of Asia, Lentinus edodes, which grows on rotting wood. A crude sort of cultivation of this species dates back for many centuries in China and Japan. Scientific cultivation, which has developed into a major agricultural activity for a huge number of people in Japan, and for many in China and Korea, is a recent development. Shiitake are now so readily available in the Orient as to be the counterpart there of the common cultivated mushrooms in the western world; but they have the advantage of a better flavour. Cultivation of the shiitake has begun on a limited scale in parts of the USA and some European countries.