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Lingzhi

The sacred fungus of immortality, considered by the Daoist mystics as the food of the Immortals (xian). Symbol of longevity, since, when dry, it becomes extremely long lasting. This strange plant looks like a tree with a knobby trunk and lobed, flat leaves but, is a fungus. Its latin name has been identified as Polyporus lucidus. It is used extensively in Chinese medicine. It was believed that lingzhi funguses grew in the abodes of the Immortals, the Three Islands of the Blest, and that whoever ate the sacred fungus attained immortality. Lingzhi funguses or decorative patterns or shapes possibly derived from them (i.e. clouds and ruyi scepters) are quite common in Chinese art.

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