Polyporus officinalis

Andreas Gminder agminder at stuttgart.netsurf.de
Mon Jun 7 18:40:07 EST 1999

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: rkhen at softhome.net <rkhen at softhome.net>
An: mycology at hgmp.mrc.ac.uk <mycology at hgmp.mrc.ac.uk>
Datum: Sonntag, 6. Juni 1999 21:13
Betreff: Polyporus officinalis

>Hi folks,
>I'm writing an article on officinal herbs and have smacked into a brick
>on Polyporus officinalis, which is apparently also called Chinese agaric.
>Aside from that, I haven't been able to find any info  on this fungus,
>online or off. Can anyone tell me what it looks like, what its natural
>is, or what Asian doctors use it for?

Polyporus officinalis is an older name for:
Laricifomes officinalis (Villars 1789 : Fr.) Kotlaba & Pouzar
= Fomitopsis officinalis (Villars 1789 : Fr.) Bondarzew & Singer 1941
= Agaricum officinalis Villars 1789 : Fr.

It is a fungus living only high up (several meters) on living Larix species
and is restricted to (sub-)alpine habitats at least in Europe. It use for
medical purposes is known since long time, perhaps the old greecs already
knew about it. It has the shape of Fomes fomentarius (hence the generic name
"Larici-fomes": Fomes from Larix) but is usually somewhat longer (vertically
growing). It is perannial, but  its years of living is not known. It should
be at least 30 years according to reports from one and the same fruitbody.

I'm not sure whether your "chinese agaric" really is this fungus, because
the chinese medicine always praises Ganoderma lucidum as favorite medical
fungus. Also the name "agaric" usually means a fungus with gills
("Agaricales"), what would lead to a totally different fungus then
Laricifomes or Ganoderma. Nevertheless, as the old generic name for
Laricifomes officinalis is AGARICUM officinalis, it is not to exclude that
really this species is meant by "chinese agaric".

I have no possibilities to check whether Laricifomes officinalis occures in
China, but as there are Larix species in China it could well be possible.

You can find some hints in the net about medical use of this species, e.g.

best wishes,
Andreas Gminder - Stuttgart - Germany


More information about the Mycology mailing list