Ganoderma sinense is a black to purplish-black or dark brown laccate species of Ganoderma found in China, Japan and Taiwan growing on decaying wood of broad-leaved trees and pine stumps. It is used in traditional Asian medicine, where it is known as zizhi (紫芝, purple Ganoderma) in Chinese.
Ganoderma sinense was erected as a species in 1979 by J.D. Zhao, L.W. Hsu, and X.Q. Zhang, distinguishing it from Ganoderma dimidiatum (formerly Ganoderma japonicum) by morphology.
One recent genetic study of two dozen samples collected in China and identified as G. sinense and G. japonicum by morphology showed all samples were the same species, G. sinense. The 20 of these identified as G. sinense showed a high variance in morphological features. Other studies have suggested that G. sinense and G. japonicum are the same species, based on their high sequence similarity in ITS data. However, because DNA samples collected in Japan under G. japonicum's revised name, G. dimediatum, were not available to test and compare to G. sinense, the authors believe is too early to determine that G. dimediatum and G. sinense are indeed synonyms.
The basidiocarp is annual, stipitate, and corky-woody.
The pileus (cap) is semicircular and measures 2.5–0.5 by 5.2–9 cm and is 9.2–1.2 cm thick in nature. It measures 2.5–6.5 by 3.5–12 cm and is 0.5–1.5 cm thick when cultivated. The upper surface of the cap is usually purplish black to black or dark brown, laccate, concentrically sulcate or not, radially rugose, margin often subtruncated.
The pore surface is pale brown to dark brown, with grey-brown tubes up to 1.4 cm long. There are 5-6 pores per millimetre, circular, 50–180 μm in diameter, with dissepiments 40–160 μm thick.
The stipe is 6–19 cm long and 0.5–1.0 cm thick, lateral, dorsolateral or eccentric, cylindrical or flattened: the same color as the pileus and also laccate.
Context tissue is 1–5 mm thick, uniformly brown or red brown near the tube layer or with whitish streaks and patches near the cutis. The hyphal system is trimitic, with generative hyphae 3–5 μm in diameter, hyaline, thin-walled, with clamp connections. Skeletal hyphae measure 4.5–7 μm in diameter, and are golden brown in 5% KOH solution and are dextrinoid in Molder's reagent. Ligative hyphae are 1–2.5 μm in diameter, thick-walled, and much branched.
Basidiospores measure 10.5–13.5 by 7–9 μm including endosporium, and 8–9 by 5.5–7. μm excluding. The myxosporium is ovoid and brown with a dark brown eusporium bearing few and thick echinulae, overlaid by a hyaline myxosporium, truncate or not at the apex. Basidia are not seen. Cutis hymeniodermic elements are 20–60 by 4–8 μm, clavate and amyloid in Melzer’s reagent.