The reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is a peculiar mushroom growing on dead roots and fallen branches or near stumps. It consists of a round or kidney shaped cap. This cap displays on top a brilliant, lacquered mahogany colour that’s more intense near stalk and clearer towards the opposite border until a white external ribbon. The reddish or mahogany colour darkens in old individuals. Underneath the cap there is a set of very fine and dense pores, white when the mushroom is young, greyish to the oldness. The eccentric stalk is the same reddish colour of the cap. Its popular Spanish name pipa (= pipe) refers to the shape -although variable-, the colour and the consistency which all look like a smoker pipe.
The reishi decays the wood of different trees, preferably helm oak. It growths in end summer and autumn. Its body is firm and dry, so, if uprooted, it lasts for a long time as an ornament.
Nowadays, pharmacists are searching for medical properties of the reishi.
[photo Jordi Badia]