On my lifelong quest for saving as many strains of Agarikon as possible, here is a photo taken yesterday with Mel Mack and Scott Franzblau showing the dramatic difference between a fresh Agarikon and what it will eventually become - the Ghost Form, which First Peoples of the PNW regarded as spiritual guardians in the afterlife.
For more information, see this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtwzHY-7mXo)
If you find Agarikon, please do not pick it ! We need to protect the natural genome. Our studies show that Agarikon's mycelium contains active components, and that Agarikon fruitbody is an astringent, and indeed in high doses may be deleterious or even toxic. We do not yet fully understand the biochemical transformation from the brown to the white form.
I found the white form featured here laying dead on the ground on my property. The other was given to me by people motivated to save this strain as the old growth forest habitats are threatened. Those from European and North American heritages have long used this mushroom for thousands of years. When possible, we leave the specimens in the old growth forests, unless they are about to be logged. We take a tiny fragment of tissue for tissue culture. Having 73 strains of Agarikon in culture represents a lifetime of searching and is a rich genomic library to pass down to future generations. As habitats are lost, so are strains of species. We are interested in create a vast genomic library of Agarikon strains to preserve its ancient mycodiversity. We GPS locate strains and leave conks in the old growth forest whenever possible." P.S.