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The name shiitake originates from its Japanese name, shiitake. listen (help·info) (kanji: 椎茸). Shii is the Japanese name of the tree Castanopsis cuspidata that provides the dead logs on which it is typically cultivated, and take means "mushroom". Other common names by which the mushroom is known in English include "Chinese black mushroom", "black forest mushroom", "black mushroom", "golden oak mushroom", or "oakwood mushroom".
The species was formerly known as Lentinus edodes and Agaricus edodes. The latter name was first applied by the English botanist Miles Joseph Berkeley in 1878.