If you want to gather reishi mushrooms, you must first understand their physical features.
The name was inspired by the Greek words “ganodos” (meaning bright/shining skin) and “derma.” As you might expect, reishi mushroom caps’ tops are highly polished.
The mature reishi caps are shaped like a clam shell, but the young mushrooms look like brilliant-colored fingers until a cap develops. During maturation, reishi mushrooms develop concentric red, orange, and white rings on the caps. The color of each individual fungus varies depending on species and environmental conditions.
Reishis are not gilled mushrooms. They’re polypores, which means the underside of the cap (where the spores are produced) resembles a tiny-pored sponge with lots of small dots. The surface of a reishi pore is white in color.
Spore print: If you set a reishi mushroom pore-side down, it should produce a brownish-colored spore print in approximately 6+ hours.
Do reishi mushrooms have poisonous lookalikes?
There are no poisonous look-alikes to reishi mushrooms in North America. The red belted conk (Fomitopsis pinicola) is a reishi lookalike that isn’t harmful.
Are Reishi Mushrooms Rare?
Reishi mushrooms are not uncommon, but finding them in the wild may be challenging because they generally grow high up on trees and their tiny size makes them hard to detect. If you do spot any, it’s preferable to keep the majority of them so that the population can grow.