Ganoderma curtisii – Golden Reishi

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The Golden Reishi (Ganoderma curtisii) is a saprobic or parasitic mushroom. It can be found on living or dead hardwood trees east of the Rocky Mountains. The golden reishi fruits May-November.
Ganoderma curtisii used to be classified as part of the Ganoderma lucidum complex. Ganoderma lucidum is now known to be a primarily European species, although it can be found in a few western states where it is thought to have escaped cultivation. The mushrooms in New England that we used to classify as Ganoderma lucidum are now reclassified as either Ganoderma curtisii or Ganoderma sessile.
Ganoderma curtisii can be differentiated from Ganoderma sessile by looking at the flesh of the mushroom. Ganoderma curtisii has melanoid bands, or dark lines on the flesh of the cap and stipe. Ganoderma sessile lacks these melanoid bands. Ganoderma curtisii is also more likely to have a stem.
There is little research on the medicinal benefits of Ganoderma curtisii, but it is thought to have similar benefits as Ganoderma lucidum. Reishi mushrooms have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and neuroprotective chemicals. They have also been used to boost immune response, enhance sleep quality, improve respiratory and liver health, and as an adjunct to cancer treatment.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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