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Artist’s Bracket

Inedible Inedible
Autumn Autumn
Spring Spring
Summer Summer
Winter Winter

It is perennial bracket, distributed worldwide, common on deciduous trees but very rare on conifers. Not edible as it is extremely tough and woody, unless you have teeth like chainsaws!

Mushroom Type
Common Names Artist's Bracket, Artist's Conk, Artist's Fungus, Paled y Peintiwr (CY), Lakownica Spłaszczona (PL), Deres Tapló (HU)
Scientific Name Ganoderma applanatum
Synonyms Elfvingia applanata, Fomes applanatus, Polyporus applanatus
Season Start All Year
Season End All Year
Average Mushroom height (CM)
Average Cap width (CM) 10–60
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Fruiting Body

Perennial, 10–60 cm across, only 2–8 cm in depth. More or less semi-circular.
Upper surface (skin): is
dull grey-brown, knobbly and grooved with a hard wrinkled crust, that is very thin, hardly 1 mm in depth. Sometimes several specimens may grow one above the other. The upper surface may be coloured by spores of adjacent specimens, too.


Tubes 4–12 mm long. The pores are very small and extremely crowded (4–6 pores/mm2), thus hardly visible to the naked eye. The bracket grows a new spore bearing layer each year, separated by a brown delimitation. The youngest layer is white, darkening when pressed and also as it matures.


Very consistent and tough, the colour from ranges from cinnamon to reddish or even dark brown, quite often spotted with white.


Growing on dead standing or lying trunks or stumps of hardwoods, very rare on conifers. It is a necrotrophic parasite, causing cubical brown-rot.

Possible Confusion

It is a rather distinctive looking polypore, the only lookalike in Europe is Southern Bracket (Ganoderma adspersum), pictured.

Taste / Smell

Inedible (because of its hard, woody context). Taste bitter, smell somewhat sweet, like many polypores.


Occasional and widespread in the UK.


Spore print dark brown. Spores ending abruptly as if chopped off (truncate), broadly ellipsoid, light brown, covered with many roundish warts (verrucose), and having a colourless (hyaline) germ-pore.

Other Facts

It is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine most of all for chronic pharyngitis, its decoction is consumed with honey.
It is not always easy to distinguish between Southern Bracket (Ganoderma adspersum) and Artist’s Bracket (Ganoderma applanatum). However, if you see a non-laccate Ganoderma sp. with distinctive galls mostly on its pore surface, rarely on the sterile upper surface, you can be sure that you have found an Artist’s Bracket, because the Yellow Flat-Footed Fly (Agathomyia wankowiczii) only lays its eggs into Artist’s Brackets. The Yellow Flat-Footed Fly is the only insect in the UK which can cause galls on a fungus.


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