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Tomophagus colossus (Fr.) Murrill 1905

National Museum of Natural Science

National Museum of Natural Science

This large fungal specimen was donated to the museum under the name “coffin mushroom”, as it was collected from a hundred-year-old rotting coffin in the Zhunan Cemetery in Miaoli County. This specimen is highly curious owing to its shape which resembles a human body. Researchers of this museum found that this specimen is representative of the species Tomophagus colossus, belonging to Ganodermataceae, and not recorded in Taiwan before. This species was originally treated as an independent genus, Tomophagus, due to its soft and light-weight fruiting body. Nevertheless, this species was widely recognized by mycologists as a Ganoderma species according to similarities in microscopic characters. Researchers of this museum studied the specimen under scanning electron microscope and found that the inner surfaces of the basidiospores are poroid, different from the aculeal surfaces of Ganoderma species. This feature supports that T. colossus does not belong to Ganoderma. Recognition of the “coffin mushroom” as a distinct taxon is not supported by science. This specimen was donated by Dr. Chi-Hsiung Tsai.

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  • Title: Tomophagus colossus (Fr.) Murrill 1905

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