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Ganoderma lucidum

Ganoderma lucidum

Afrikaans:   Vernisswam

English :      Reishi

IsiXhosa:    Inkowane ebomvu

Description and diagnostic features   

   It is the most amazing fungus with a stem covered with red brown shiny substance that looks like lacquer or varnish.

Part used     

    The whole standing mushroom.


   Dried and extracted as tea or tincture or combination.

 It makes the mind clearer or lucid hence its species epithet lucidum.

    It is claimed to be health promoting and has been used for centuries in the far east for longevity. It is claimed to lengthen the telomeres on human chromosomes so that cell division can not eventually destroy the chromosomes with cell division.



It is found in warm damp condition on hardwood.  In South Africa it is found in hardwood forests.

This one was found in Natures Valley but they are known to grow in the Knysna forests and in the mountains around Suurbraak.      I recently saw one on the base of a sweet thorn tree standing near a stream near Robertson. I never expected to see it in such a relatively dry environment.  The tree was seriously stressed by much mistletoe growing on its branches. It had no active green leaves of its own left.  


It can be introduced as mycelium growing on dowel sticks into holes drilled into hardwood logs. Once it is inserted the log must be kept damp in the shade and the hole into which the dowel was inserted  must be sealed off with beeswax.