Major Groups > Polypores > Ganoderma tsugae


Ganoderma tsugae

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

by Michael Kuo

This beautiful mushroom is closely related to Ganoderma lucidum and is virtually indistinguishable from that species on the basis of physical features alone. However, Ganoderma tsugae is partial to conifers--especially eastern hemlock. Additionally, it has whitish, rather than brownish flesh. Otherwise it is recognized, like Ganoderma lucidum, by its varnished, reddish cap and stem.


Ecology: Parasitic on living conifers (especially eastern hemlock) and saprobic on the deadwood of conifers; producing a white butt rot of the heartwood--"a soft wet whitish or straw-colored cellulose-destroying decay of the wood" when young, and later a "network of cracks filled with white mycelium" with "numerous black dots throughout the wood" (Overholts, 1953); growing alone or gregariously; annual; widely distributed in eastern North America, and reported from the Southwest.

Cap: 5-30 cm; at first irregularly knobby or elongated, but by maturity more or less fan-shaped; with a shiny, varnished surface often roughly arranged into lumpy "zones"; red to reddish brown when mature; when young often with zones of bright yellow and white toward the margin; occasionally with bluish tints.

Pore Surface: White, becoming dingy brownish in age; usually bruising brown; with 4-6 tiny (nearly invisible to the naked eye) circular pores per mm; tubes to 2 cm deep.

Stem: Sometimes absent, but more commonly present; 3-14 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: Whitish; fairly soft when young, but soon tough.

Spore Print: Brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 13-15 x 7.5-8.5 µ; more or less elliptical, sometimes with a truncated end; under oil immersion appearing double-walled, with a row of "pillars" between the walls. Setae and cystidia absent. Hyphal system dimitic.

REFERENCES: Murrill, 1902. (Saccardo, 1905; Overholts, 1953; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Gilbertson & Ryvarden, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 09110402.

Ganoderma lucidum is found on hardwoods, and has brownish flesh. Ganoderma oregonense is a conifer lover of the Pacific Northwest and New Mexico; it has larger spores (10-16 x 7.5-9 µ) and a much larger fruiting body (up to one meter across!).

A 1995 DNA study of Ganoderma (Moncalvo, Wang & Hseu) found that worldwide collections of Ganoderma tsugae may not be genetically compatible. The study applied several DNA techniques and found that, while Ganoderma tsugae and Ganoderma lucidum do appear to separate with some methods, the picture is unclear enough that further study is required before reliable conclusions can be drawn.


Ganoderma tsugae

Ganoderma tsugae

Ganoderma tsugae

Ganoderma tsugae

Ganoderma tsugae

Ganoderma tsugae

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