Ganoderma lucidum

Common Names: Reishi, lingzhi
Category: Fungi
Sub-category: Polypores

A parasitic fungus on living hardwoods (especially oaks) and saprobic on the deadwood of hardwoods. Grows alone or gregariously, usually near the base of the tree. The cap is 2 to 30 cm; at first irregularly knobby or elongated, but by maturity more or less fan-shaped; with a shiny, varnished surface often with a lumpy texture; red to reddish brown when mature; when young often with zones of bright yellow and white toward the margin. Pore surface is whitish, becoming dingy brownish in age; usually bruising brown; with 4 to 7 tiny (nearly invisible to the naked eye) circular pores per mm; tubes to 2 cm deep. Stem is sometimes absent, but more commonly present; 3 to 14 cm long; up to 3 cm thick; twisted; equal or irregular; varnished and colored like the cap; often distinctively angled away from one side of the cap. Flesh is brownish; fairly soft when young, but soon tough. Spore print is brown. Ganoderma tsugae is virtually identical, however it grows primarily on conifers, especially hemlock.

Edible Notes: While it is too tough and woody to consume, it has been used medicinally as a tea or tincture in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.