Major Groups > Polypores > Ganoderma applanatum


Ganoderma applanatum

[ Basidiomycetes > Polyporales > Ganodermataceae > Ganoderma . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Most people have seen Ganoderma applanatum at one time or another; it is widely distributed (found in all 50 of the United States!) and common--typically seen at the bases of stumps or on logs. It is sometimes known as the "Artist's Fungus," since its pore surface bruises brown and retains the bruising for years if the mushroom is picked and brought inside. I have seen very intricate and beautiful etchings on Ganoderma applanatum, in craft stores and yard sales. My own attempts at Ganoderma art, however, have not been very beautiful--unless you call abusive woodland notes for my mushrooming buddies "beautiful."

Distinguishing features for Ganoderma applanatum include its unvarnished, furrowed and lumpy, brown-crusted cap surface; its white pore surface, which bruises brown; and its brownish or cinnamon flesh. It is perennial, and the specimens can develop for dozens of years.


Ecology: Saprobic and sometimes parasitic; growing alone or in groups on decaying logs and stumps, or from the wounds of injured, living (for a while, anyway) trees; producing a white to straw-colored rot of sapwood and heartwood; found on most species of hardwoods and on many conifers; perennial; common and very widely distributed in North America.

Cap: 5-75 cm (!) across; more or less fan-shaped, semicircular, or irregular; with a dull, unvarnished outer crust; often furrowed in "zones"; brownish to grayish brown.

Pore Surface: White, becoming dirty yellowish or dingy brownish to olive in age; bruising brown; with 4-6 tiny (nearly invisible to the naked eye) circular pores per mm; tubes in layers (a new layer is added each year), separated by brown tissue, with each layer 4-12 mm deep.

Stem: Usually absent; if present, lateral and stubby.

Flesh: Brown to cinnamon brown (rarely whitish); very tough.

Chemical Reactions: Flesh and tubes black with KOH.

Spore Print: Brown or reddish brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 8-12 x 6.5-8 µ; more or less elliptical, with a truncated end; appearing smooth at lower magnifications, but with oil immersion appearing double-walled, with a series of "pillars" between the walls; inamyloid. Cystidia and setae absent. Hyphal system trimitic.

REFERENCES: (Persoon, 1799) Patouillard, 1887. (Saccardo, 1888; Overholts, 1953; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Arora, 1986; Gilbertson & Ryvarden, 1986; States, 1990; Lincoff, 1992; Horn, Kay & Abel, 1993; Evenson, 1997; Barron, 1999; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Binion et al, 2008.) Herb. Kuo 02191001.

Ganoderma annularis, found on hardwoods in California, has tubes that do not develop in new layers each year, and extremely thin flesh; its spores measure 10-12 x 6-8 µ. Ganoderma brownii, also found on California hardwoods, has layered tubes and spores 9-12 x 7-9 µ.

Further Online Information:

Ganoderma applanatum at MykoWeb
Ganoderma applanatum at Roger's Mushrooms


Ganoderma applanatum

Ganoderma applanatum

Ganoderma applanatum

Ganoderma applanatum

Ganoderma applanatum

Ganoderma applanatum

Ganoderma applanatum

Ganoderma applanatum

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Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2004, February). Ganoderma applanatum. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: