Mushroom Identification with RADII

Plus Photos by Phyllis Ma

More closely related to the animal kingdom (which includes you and I) than to plants, fungi are mysterious, almost alien-like organisms that play a vital role among mankind. Get to know four kinds of mushrooms via eye-popping photography by Chinese American artist Phyllis Ma:

"It’s hilariously phallic," said Ma about one of her favorite mushrooms. "I love that it can be both intriguing and repulsive at the same time." According to her, the bamboo fungus utilizes smell as a way to attract insects that, in turn, help to spread its spores.

BAMBOO FUNGUS (Phallus indusiatus)


The fly agaric is often depicted in cartoons, pop culture, and video games (think Super Mario!) for its eye-catching appearance.  Mere mention of it brings a bright red and white spotted mushroom to mind, although there are also yellow varieties. Note that the mushroom is toxic, and should not be eaten unless prepared by an expert.

FLY AGARIC (Amanita muscaria)


Indigenous to East Asia, lingzhi has been mentioned in countless ancient Chinese texts, and is a revered ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Depending on how they were grown or weather conditions, the mushroom may or may not have caps. In the case of the latter, they resemble antlers.

LINGZHI (Without caps) (Ganoderma lingzhi)


Lingzhi mushrooms aren't just consumed (often in capsule form) for health reasons, but also serve ornamental purposes. "I fell into a rabbit hole researching lingzhi bonsai," said Ma, who harvested and fused her own lingzhi before adding them to a potted plant. "It feels like the mushroom and I collaborated on a sculpture together.


LINGZHI (With caps) (Ganoderma lingzhi)

Click on the link below to read RADII's exclusive interview with the Brooklyn-based photographer.