NC, USA, July 2018
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum or Ganoderma tsugae)
[sent in by @bfrumkin]
This incredible find is remarkable not because of the mushroom itself – reishi mushrooms are relatively common – but because of where it’s growing. You would usually expect to find reishi mushrooms on living or dead wood – G. licidum on hardwoods and G. tsugae on conifers – but this specimen has emerged through the asphalt floor of a garage, which presumably lies over wood (long dead, or stray roots) of some kind – but who knows!
Reishi are edible (people tend to eat the softer white margins) but reportedly not very good. They are, however, frequently brewed into teas, with reported medicinal properties.
This is a good reminder that field guides are just that – guides. And mushrooms don’t always follow what’s laid out in their descriptions. People often report finding saprophobic mushrooms on material so rotted we would call it soil, and occasionally vice versa. Be wary of mushrooms that only half-fit a species description, but don’t necessarily write them off entirely!