E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Ganoderma applanatum (Pers.) Pat.
artist's conk

Species account author: Ian Gibson.
Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Rosemary Taylor  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20569)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Ganoderma applanatum
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Species Information

Ganoderma applanatum forms a flat semicircular to hoof-shaped or shelf-like fruitbody that has a hard brown to grayish black upper surface, fine whitish pores that turn instantly brown when scratched, punky or corky flesh, and brown or reddish brown spores that often dust the upper surface. It is commonly known as the artist's conk because a sharp instrument can produce brown drawings on the white pore surface that will be permanent after drying. It has been calculated that this fungus can produce 4.5 trillion spores annually, (Sept(1)). It is common and is found in BC, WA, OR, ID, and also AB, MB, NWT, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, PQ, SK, YT, AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, and WY, (Gilbertson)
bracket-like, horizontally flattened, rarely hoof-shaped, woody to corky, margin thin; upper surface grayish to black or brown, with white margin; crustose, irregular to tuberculate, usually covered with dusty layer of chocolate brown spores, (Gilbertson), (5)10-40(70)cm along wood, projecting (4)25-40cm, 2-6cm thick, bracket-like or on horizontal wood plate-shaped, light brown when young, then cinnamon-brown to gray-brown, black when old; with concentric undulations or tuberculate, smooth, dull, often covered with spore deposit, crust indentable when old; margin inflated, sharp, whitish when fresh, (Breitenbach), 5-50cm wide, convex to steeply hoof-shaped; gray to brown or grayish black; often warty and zoned with hard, horny crust that becomes furrowed or cracked, (Lincoff(2)), 5-75cm or more broad (Arora for Ganoderma applanatum group), appears varnished (Lincoff(1))
corky; purplish brown, (Gilbertson), corky-cottony; red-brown to dark brown with whitish streaks, (Breitenbach), 0.5-5cm thick, brown, (Lincoff(2)), felt-like; brown, fairly dark, with whitish zones, (Lincoff(1)), soft and corky to punky (soft and fibrous), (McKnight)
4-6 per mm, circular, white, quickly bruising brown when handled, becoming dull buff when old; tube layers each up to 1.35cm thick, separated by layer of flesh, and colored the same as the flesh, (Gilbertson), (4)5-6 per mm, white to cream, when fresh turning brownish when touched; tube layer 0.5-1(2)cm, layered in fruitbodies several years old, (Breitenbach), 4-6 per mm, circular; white, readily bruising darker, often aging yellowish to pale brownish, tubes 0.4-1.2cm thick, distinctly layered, (Lincoff(2)), tubes rust-colored (Lincoff(1))
usually absent
none (Miller)
mild (Miller)
spores given as (8)9-12 x 6.5-8 microns at one place in text [an error] but 6-9 x 4.5-6 microns in the key, oval, truncate at distal end, with two walls connected by interwall pillars, inamyloid, brown; basidia 4-spored, 20-45 x 8-10 microns, clavate, some tapering to narrow base, "arising from intercalary positions on subhymenial hyphae", with basal clamp connection; cystidia none; hyphal system trimitic, context generative hyphae inconspicuous, 2-5 microns wide, thin-walled, with clamp connections, skeletal hyphae 3-6.5 microns wide, brown, thick-walled, aseptate, "occasionally branched, the extremities tapering to acute apices", binding hyphae few, (Gilbertson), spores 6.5-9.5 x 5-7 microns, broadly elliptic and blunt at one end, with thick double wall (outer perforated, inner chambered), (Lincoff(2)), 9-13 x 6-8 microns (Lincoff(1), presumably an error), 6-9 x 4.5-6 microns (McKnight), spores 7-8(9) x 4.5-6 microns, broadly elliptic, truncate, indistinctly verrucose-uneven, truncate end with colorless germ pore, inamyloid, (Breitenbach), spores 6-9 x 4-6 microns (Ginns)
Spore Deposit:
brown to cocoa brown or reddish brown (Arora), rust-brown (Lincoff(1)), appear chocolate brown on cap surface (Gilbertson)

Habitat / Range

perennial, dead standing trees, stumps, and living trees of numerous genera of hardwoods, also common on conifers in Pacific Northwest and rarely on conifers elsewhere, causes a white mottle rot and butt rot of living aspen, also found on dead standing or fallen hardwoods, (Gilbertson), young buttons start in summer but continue fruiting all year (Miller)

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


too tough and woody (Arora)

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Gilbertson(1), Breitenbach(2)*, Arora(1)* (as Ganoderma applanatum group), Lincoff(2)*, Lincoff(1)*, Miller(14)*, Schalkwijk-Barendsen(1)*, McKnight(1)*, Sept(1)*, Ginns(25), Bacon(1)*, AroraPocket*, Buczacki(1)*

References for the fungi

General References