Artist’s Fungi

Artist's Fungus, 2020 (Ink Pen)
Artist’s Fungus, 2020 (Ink Pen)

Autumn is a time of colour and variety. Fungi of all shapes, sizes, and colours choose this time of the year to fruit. And guess what, artists have a fungus of their own!

The Artist’s Fungus is a large fan-shaped bracket fungus of the Ganoderma species, edible (I am told by various books), with knobbly upper surfaces in concentric ridges. It is found on dead and living trucks of deciduous trees. What makes it our own is that the underside is fine, whitish or cream like an artist’s canvas, which bruises brown when you write or draw on it. This peculiarity is what has allowed fungi guide books to describe this fungus as having “artistic opportunities”.

The downside, some guide books tell me, is that if it colonises a living tree it causes serious rot eventually killing the tree.