Artist's Conk

Ganoderma applanatum (Pers.) Pat.
Synonym: Fomes applanatus

Most often found on old or decaying cottonwood, poplar, birch, and aspen, the shelflike Artist’s Conk can inhabit conifers as well. Artist’s Conk gets its name from the change in color which occurs when the white underside of the conk is scratched. The scratched trace immediately turns brown, allowing artists to create intricate drawings on this natural “canvas.”

Description: Shelf-like, more or less flattened, and woody, Artist’s Conk has a gray top with concentric bands and a white undersurface. The prolific release (up to 30 billion/day) of its brown spores can give the upper portion a tan appearance. Older specimens can grow very large. Size can range from 2” to 35” in circumference and 1” to 8” thick.

Uses: Besides being used as an artist’s canvas, large specimens have been made into tables and shelves. When burned, it is said to repel insects. Artist’s Conk’s medicinal properties have been investigated and shown
to display antimicrobial and antitumor properties. Decoctions of Artist’s Conk have been used to treat lung and respiratory complaints, as an immune system enhancer, and as a diuretic. Native Americans have used it in
healing, protection, and ceremonial rites.

-Text and Image from Alaska Plant Profiles: Conks/Shelf Fungi, retrieved December 2nd, 2012.

Alaska, Mushrooms, anoderma applanatum, Fomes applanatus