Artist’s Bracket

Artist's Conk

Ganoderma applanatum

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The Artist’s Bracket is a well-known bracket fungus that is cherished not only for its ecological role but also for its unique utility in art. The pale white underside of the fungus can be easily etched or “drawn” upon, and these marks darken, resembling a sketch, hence the name. The sketches remain even as the fungus dries, making it a favorite for natural artists.

Artist’s Bracket

Common Name
Artist’s Bracket

Other Names

Artist’s Conk

Latin Name

Ganoderma applanatum

Distribution

This fungus is found globally, mainly in temperate regions across North America, Europe, Asia, and other regions.

Appearance

It’s a perennial, woody bracket fungus that’s flat and fan-shaped. The upper surface is brown to grayish-brown, often with a slightly lumpy texture, while the underside is white and turns brown when bruised. It’s this feature that’s exploited for “drawing.”

Size

Typically ranges from 10 to 60 cm across.

Habitat

Found on dead and decaying hardwood trees, especially oaks and beeches.

Diet

Saprophytic; decomposes wood.

Lifecycle

Starts as spores that settle on suitable wood, germinate, and grow as white mycelium. Over time, the fruiting body (the bracket) forms and becomes woody. This fungus is perennial, so it grows larger year by year, releasing spores from its underside.

Defense Mechanisms

The tough, woody texture is not particularly palatable to many animals. Its bitter taste also deters many herbivores.

Ecological Importance

Helps decompose and recycle nutrients from deadwood, playing an essential role in forest nutrient cycling.

Conservation Status

Not of particular conservation concern due to its widespread nature.
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