Reishi Mushroom, Ling-Chi
(Ganoderma lucidum)

Reishi Mushroom sculpture
Reishi Mushroom
Sculpture, acrylic paint
This polypore’s cap has a distinct varnished appearance, making it one of the easiest to recognize. 1-14 inches wide, the often overlapping, fan- to kidney-shaped, tough, corky caps are shiny, dark red, often with a tan zone near the margin.
Reishi Mushrooms From Above
Reishi Mushroom, From Above
The cap’s underside is white, becoming beige with age, with pores too small to see without magnification.
Reishi Mushrooms, From Below
Reishi Mushroom, From Below

The lateral stalk, if it exists, is 1-4 inches long, 1/4 to 1-5/8 inches thick, also shiny red.

You can find it from spring through fall, growing on the base of deciduous trees (it prefers maple) as well as logs and stumps, throughout much of the world. This woody mushroom persists through the winter.

Called "the mushroom of immortality," people in the Far East have been using this mushroom for centuries as a tonic. There’s evidence that it strengthens the immune system and helps the body fight off a variety of ailments, and it’s even used for cancer in traditional Chinese medicine.

Too tough to eat (perhaps you could boil it in a soup when it’s very, very young and still somewhat soft), you saw off about a tablespoon of the mushroom, simmer it 2 hours, covered, over low heat, and drink the tea.

Reishi Mushroom painting
Reishi Mushroom
Pen-and-ink, watercolor pencils drawing
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