The Mysterious Mushroom

It never fails that I find something that I have no idea what it is – I LOVE that!

I found this amazing red mushroom a few weeks ago. And when I say red – I mean like a red I have never seen before. The tint of other red mushrooms has become familiar to me so this one was one the forest floor screaming “Look at ME!”. Not only was the color magnificent, but the shine and shape was something else (It looked and was about the same size as an ear). I did some quick internet searches with no luck on a proper ID.

I had to find someone that would know .. and one particular person came to mind. Adam with Learn Your Land will definitely be able to share some information. If you are not following him on Facebook or subscribed to his newsletter (bottom of the page) you can do that just by clicking on the links. He provides a wonderful opportunity to learn!

Here is what he had to say about my new find. “Wow! What a gorgeous specimen. It is a Ganoderma species of some kind (aka Reishi). It all depends on which host tree was nearby. If there was an eastern hemlock, it’s probably Ganoderma tsugae. If there was a hardwood, it’s most likely Ganoderma curtisii. They’re variable in color when young (whites, yellows, reds), though as they mature they turn a deep red, lacquered color.” This mushroom was definitely not near an evergreen (our hemlocks are in pretty bad shape).  “It’s closely related to Ganoderma lucidum (the ling zhi mushroom), and many people might even call it that. However, the most current research suggests that G. lucidum doesn’t occur in North America… even though many species look just like it here. Mushrooms are a confusing bunch.”

Overwhelmed with information? Me too! I began to look up this mushroom with the information he gave me – a confusing bunch is right! I am glad to know that there are people out there (like him and the Western PA Mushroom Club) that are interested in mushrooms. Their willingness to help us all learn to appreciated!

Here are a few more links if you would like to learn more. Wikipedia, Mushroom Observer and Midwest Mycology.



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