On the hunt for ganoderma lucidum

Song Thanh National Park is home to hundreds of rare animals and plants, including the Erythrophleum fordii and their symbiotic ganoderma. There are traces of these trees all across the Song Thanh area.

Since Song Thanh became a well-protected national park in 2020, the locals have not been able to gather plants within its fences.

To create an income for people in the buffer zone, the park decides to breed Ganoderma lucidum Karst as free seed supplies. A squad of rangers now work as ganoderma hunters.

According to a member, the rangers on patrol would keep an eye out for the fungi and their stems. The tree stumps where they grow will be marked so the ganoderma can be collected later.

During the rainy season, the fungi sprout from the root barks or stumps of newly felled Erythrophleum fordii. Long-dead trees whose bark had peeled off cannot give fungi. The rangers always record the GPS coordinates of where the fungi appear in mass.

The deeper into the forest, the more Ganoderma lucidum Karst can be found at the base of Erythrophleum fordii trees.

Each “hunt” usually lasts 2 days. The rangers and “fungi hunters” often set up camp on the bank near areas with lots of ganoderma. The camp is stocked with rice, spices and basic cooking utensils.

After being collected, the fungi have their spores separated to create yeast and transplanted onto the branches and stems of native Erythrophleum fordii trees, resembling the quality and medicinal content closest to that of natural ganoderma. On the contrary, most man-grown Ganoderma lucidum Karst on the market are sawdust from rubber trees and acacia leaves.

Ganoderma lucidum Karst is an endemic reishi species growing on Erythrophleum fordii trees in primeval forests (including those of Vietnam and Laos), widely used as an herbal medicine. Ganoderma lucidum Karst has high medicinal properties and little to no side effects.

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