This fungus grows as a mycelium within the wood of living and dead trees. It forms fruiting bodies that are up to 30–100 centimetres (12–39 in) across, hard as leather, woody-textured, and inedible in raw form. They are white at first but soon turn dark red-brown. Brown spores are released from the pores on the underside of the fruiting body. The fruiting bodies are perennial, and may persist for multiple years, increasing in size and forming new layers of pores as they grow.
Ganoderma applanatum is a wood-decay fungus, causing a rot of heartwood in a variety of trees. It can also grow as a pathogen of live sapwood, particularly on older trees that are sufficiently wet. It is a common cause of decay and death of beech and poplar, and less often of several other tree genera, including alder, apple, elm, buckeye and horse chestnut, maple, oak, walnut, willow, western hemlock, Douglas fir, old or sick olive tree and spruce.
A peculiarity of this fungus lies in its use as a drawing medium for artists. When the fresh white pore surface is rubbed or scratched with a sharp implement, dark brown tissue under the pores is revealed, resulting in visible lines and shading that become permanent once the fungus is dried.
G. applanatum is a medicinal farming crop that is used as a flavor enhancer in Asian cuisine. G. applanatum is non-digestible in its raw form, but it is used for cooking, because of its rich mushroom flavor. Blending with filtration, or cold pressing in water, is a common method for creating ganoderma drinks. Hot herbal soups, or fermentation in lemon acid with onion is a common use for cooking with G. applanatum slices as an umami flavor enhancer in fermented foods.
Ganoderma applanatum is known in Japan as kofuki-saru-no-koshikake (コフキサルノコシカケ), literally meaning "powder-covered monkey's bench", and in China as shu-she-ling-zhi (树舌灵芝), where it has long been used in traditional medicines. Studies have shown Ganoderma applanatum contains compounds with potent anti-tumor, antibacterial anti-fibrotic properties.
There is anecdotal references of higher primates consuming this fungus for self-medication.
Still another special food (for the gorillas) is bracket fungus (Ganoderma applanatum)... The shelflike projection is difficult to break free, so younger animals often have to wrap their arms and legs awkwardly around a trunk and content themselves by only gnawing at the delicacy. Older animals who succeed in breaking the fungus loose have been observed carrying it several hundred feet from its source, all the while guarding it possessively from more dominant individuals' attempts to take it away. Both the scarcity of the fungus and the gorillas' liking of it cause many intragroup squabbles, a number of which are settled by the silverback, who simply takes the item of contention for himself.
The midge Agathomyia wankowiczii lays its eggs on the fruiting body of the fungus, forming galls. The forked fungus beetle, Bolitotherus cornutus lives out its entire life cycle in the fruiting bodies of Ganoderma applanatum and a few other bracket fungi. Meanwhile, the fly Hirtodrosophila mycetophaga courts and mates entirely on the underside of dark fungi.
|pores on hymenium|
|no distinct cap|
|hymenium is decurrent|
|lacks a stipe|
|spore print is brown|
|ecology is parasitic|
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- Smania, Jr; Monache, Franco Delie; Smania, Elza de Fatima Albino; Cuneo, Rodrigo S. (1999). "Antibacterial Activity of Steroidal Compounds Isolated from Ganoderma applanatum". International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 1, 1999 Issue 4 (4): 325–330. doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v1.i4.40.
- Osińska-Jaroszuk, Monika; Jaszek, Magdalena; Mizerska-Dudka, Magdalena; Błachowicz, Adriana; Rejczak, Tomasz Piotr; Janusz, Grzegorz; Wydrych, Jerzy; Polak, Jolanta; Jarosz-Wilkołazka, Anna; Kandefer-Szerszeń, Martyna (July 2014). "Exopolysaccharide from Ganoderma applanatum as a Promising Bioactive Compound with Cytostatic and Antibacterial Properties". BioMed Research International. 2014: 1–10. doi:10.1155/2014/743812. PMC 4120920. PMID 25114920.
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- Liles, M.P. (1956). "A study of the life history of the forked fungus beetle, Bolitotherus cornutus". Ohio J Sci. 56: 329–337. hdl:1811/4397/V56N06_329.pdf.
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- Phillips, D. H., & Burdekin, D. A. (1992). Diseases of Forest and Ornamental Trees. Macmillan.
- Ganoderma applanatum
- Ganoderma applanatum
- Photographs of the fungus, including one used as a drawing surface
- Several drawings created on these fungi
- Media related to Ganoderma applanatum at Wikimedia Commons