The Mind Blowing Ways That Reishi Can Grow
Is Reishi sentient? How did it know how to do that?!
The spirit mushroom
The mushroom of immortality
Whatever you wanna call it, Reishi is freakin’ cool.
Not only because it has medicinal properties, but also in the way that it grows…
From “antlers” to “conks” read on to see some of the crazy ways that Reishi can grow.
How Reishi Normally Grows
Reishi is a medicinal mushroom, not a culinary mushroom, so normally when it’s grown for medical purposes, it looks like a perfectly shaped “conk”.
There are lots of different methods to cultivate it, but normally it is grown outside in greenhouses and shade-houses, and it is grown on real-deal logs that are buried underground.
This way takes a long time, like 9 months basically from inoculating the logs to harvesting the Reishi. Since these are grown outside, with lots of fresh air they grow perfectly shaped Reishi.
I actually did this on a much smaller scale for a fun backyard grow- if you wanna go watch that video, you can watch that here.
Reishi- as with any other mushroom- can look really different depending on the conditions that they are grown in. If they have high CO2 concentrations, or low oxygen levels, they will grow what is called the “antler form”.
If they get enough fresh air, they will grow the “conk” form. It makes sense from the Reishi’s point of view, because it would want to grow out in the antler form until it has enough fresh air surrounding it that when it drops it’s spores- and Reishi drop a LOT of spores, then the spores would happily make there way into to airstream to continue to propagate the species.
As Reishi grows, it produces a high amount of CO2- because remember, mushrooms breathe just like we do.
So when they only have a little oxygen (and high CO2) they just grow “antlers”, which look like little finger like projections-
They will also grow in different striations of colour, like orange, red and brown.
And right at the tippy-top of the Reishi, it will usually be bright white, which means two things.
First of all, it shows that it is still growing- the white part is the “leading edge” of the mushroom growth.
But this is the part that will also eventually fold over and turn into the “conk”. Meaning it will eventually flatten out, turn brown and form the spore bearing surface on the bottom.
When this is grown on logs, farmers will actually pick off some of the antlers and only allow a few to grow which is how you can get these nice fruits.
The Many Colours Of Reishi
The other thing that is notable about Reishi is the mycelium. It is pure snow white, and in my opinion is the most beautiful mycelium you’ll ever see!
It is also ridiculously tough- even when you take a scalpel to it, you will notice that it is hard to cut through.
Compared to something like Lion’s Mane which is like cotton candy- light and fluffy.
Yet, even though the mycelium is so white, the fruiting blocks are often covered in brown crust, which is totally normal.
A lot of people will think their Reishi is contaminated, but really it is just a protective crust that the Reishi forms on the outside of the substrate.
It will also sometimes produce “metabolites” (orange/brown liquid) which is kind of like Reishi flexing it’s immune system, because these metabolites can actually contain compounds to protect the Reishi from invaders!
Reishi IS Tenacious
Reishi is ridiculously tenacious- it is almost hard to NOT grow this mushroom once it gets going!
It just destroys everything in it’s path, including contamination and physical barriers that it can burst though.
When you think about it, that makes sense- it needs to burst through wood when it grows on trees and logs.
Reishi can sometimes be seen bursting right through the filter on grow bags, or breaking right through the plastic itself… it just wants to grow!