What You Should Know
Ganoderma austral is a large perennial bracket fungus that causes white heart rot in trees of the genera Tilia (limes). It varying in color from ochre, through reddish to dark brown. The underside is white. The perennial fruitbodies of Gamoderma australe appear mainly on the lower trunk, most often near to the base.
This tough, inedible bracket lives for many years, developing noticeable growing ridges on the upper surface.
Other names: Southern Bracket, Garden Fungi
Ganoderma australe Mushroom Identification
This mushroom grows to typically 25cm across but exceptionally 50cm, and 5 to 25cm thick, with a pale margin and lower surface and a dark brown or dark grey upper surface. The tube layer is brilliant white when ready to release spores, but as with other Ganoderma fungi the spores are brown and soon color the surrounding area including parts of the top of the bracket with dense brown dust.
Tubes and Pores
The red-brown tubes of the Southern Bracket are tiered, a new layer being produced each year.
The small round pores, typically three or four per mm, are white when the fruiting body is growing and approaching the time when spores will be released, turning brown with age or when bruised. A new tube layer grows on the lower surface each year.
Ovoid, twin-walled, truncate at the apex, 8-13 x 5.5-9µm.
Odor and Taste
Very little odor but a bitter taste.
Habitat & Ecological Role
Ganoderma australe produces brackets on the lower parts of hardwood tree trunks; it has recently been found growing on pine trees in Italy and may therefore be able to attack other kinds of conifers.
Southern Bracket is perennial and releases spores in late summer and autumn.
Ganoderma austral Look-Alikes
Very similar though less common, and the two are impossible to identify with certainty without microscopic examination of spores.
Releases a yellow resin when broken, has a much thicker white margin than Ganoderma australe.
Ganoderma austral Taxonomy and Etymology
The great Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries described this species in 1828 and named it Polyporus australis. Its current scientific name comes from a 1889 publication by French pharmacist and mycologist Narcisse Théophile Patouillard (1854 - 1926).
Synonyms of Ganoderma australe include Polyporus australis Fr., Polyporus adspersus Schulzer, Fomes australis (Fr.) Cooke, Ganoderma europaeum Steyaert, and Ganoderma adspersum (Schulzer) Donk. (Until quite recently most field guides listed this species as Ganoderma adspersum).
Shining skin is the literal translation of Ganoderma, which comes from the Greek words Ganos, meaning brightness (or shining); and derma, meaning skin, although not all Ganoderma fungi have particularly bright shiny surfaces. The specific epithet australe means southern - not 'of Austria', for which austriaca would be used.
Photo 1 - Author: Alex Popovkin, Bahia, Brazil from Brazil (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
Photo 2 - Author: Alex Popovkin, Bahia, Brazil from Brazil (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
Photo 3 - Author: Alex Popovkin, Bahia, Brazil from Brazil (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
Photo 4 - Author: Alex Popovkin, Bahia, Brazil from Brazil (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
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