Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yucky Fungus Among Us


Mark Bower sent these pictures from the mycological survey he and other Master Naturalists are conducting at Valley Water Mill.  This is Entonaema liquescens,* a colorful mushroom growing on deciduous wood logs in the forest.  It has a world wide distribution but is uncommon in North America.

World distribution-
This is a fungus which comes equipped with a real YUCK factor.  Unlike many related jelly fungi which are gelatinous inside, this one has a brown liquid, a little Halloween treat!

For a little relief, the picture below I received from Sharon Yoker, requesting an identification.  I struck out on my first attempt and finally sent it to my Arkansas guru, Jay Justice.  He came back with Ganoderma lucidum, a very interesting species.  It is referred to also as the reishi mushroom.

Ganoderma lucidum- Sharon Yoker
It is both parasitic on hardwood, especially oaks, and saprophytic on dead wood.  It can go through a broad spectrum of colors as seen at  The Chinese have used it as a medicinal mushroom for over 2000 years, one of the oldest known uses of mushrooms in ancient medicine.  As is frequently the case with herbal and natural treatments, proponents feel it has effects on cancer,  blood sugar, cholesterol, general immunity etc.  It has a lot of active chemical ingredients, making it hard to define its effects and side effects.

Believe it or not, many fungi are beautiful when captured by a talented photographer.  Mark Bower has photographed a wide variety of specimens on our stretch along Bull Creek, so to leave on a more aesthetically pleasing note, here is his Ganoderma lucidum, picture.

Ganoderma lucidum on Bull Creek- Mark Bower
*The only available information I found on Entonaema liquiscens is at


  1. that's ganoderma resinaceum not lucidium

  2. Good point. There is currently a lot of debate about the Ganoderma and it would be better now simply refer to it as Ganoderma sp.