Ling Chih (Lingzhi; Reishi Mushroom)
Hard, usually flat, zoned bracket fungus; reddish brown, shiny top. Grows at the base of living and dead deciduous trees or around stumps. May–November. Cap shelflike, semicircular; dark red to dark brown, lighter toward the margin; texture hard, shiny, often zoned. Pores circular to angular; whitish to brown. Stalk rarely present. Spore print brown. Spores magnified are elliptical, with double wall. When young and fresh, ling chih looks varnished, often with striking color bands of red, yellow, and white.
Lookalikes: Other Ganoderma species. The resinous polypore (Ischnoderma resinosum) exudes amber-colored droplets of moisture when young.