The fruiting bodies of the fungus Ganoderma lucidum are plate-like mushrooms with hard, shiny, reddish-purple to reddish-brown tops and creamy white undersides and edges. Young mushrooms may have yellow and white markings on the top.
Ganoderma lucidum mushrooms are polypores, which means they have pores, instead of gills, on the undersides of the round, flat tops. The spores look like reddish-brown dust when they are released. The mushrooms resemble shelves with no stems when they grow on trees. They are perennial and grow larger each year.
Ganoderma lucidum is a soil-borne fungus that grows on decaying logs and stumps of hardwood trees. The fungus infects the roots and butt of trees, such as oaks, maples, cottonwoods and citruses. They commonly grow during the rainy summer season.
People in Oriental countries have used Ganoderma lucidum mushrooms to improve health, longevity, happiness and wisdom, according to "Tom Volk's Fungus of the Month--March 2005." Tests have determined that Ganoderma lucidum mushrooms contain chemicals that have analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties, the article states.
Ganoderma lucidum mushrooms are hard to find in the wild in the Orient. People grow them on artificial logs or in bottles of hardwood sawdust in a moist, shady location.
Consult a licensed medical practitioner before using Ganoderma lucidum mushrooms or any other natural treatment.
- Merriam-Webster Online: Basidiomycete
- Cornell University: Diseases of Roots
- Arizona State University: Ganoderma Root Rot
- University of Wisconsin: Tom Volk's Fungus of the Month
- Purdue University: Specialty Mushrooms
Ganoderma lucidum mushroom, Ganoderma mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum fungus
About this Author
Melody Lee worked as a newspaper reporter, copywriter and editor for 5 years. In addition, she has edited magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design and is a Florida master gardener. She has more than 25 years of gardening experience, which includes working at nurseries and greenhouses.