Tree Ear or Jelly Ear, Auricularia auricula
Auiculariaceae or Tree Ear Family

Older books sometimes use the Latin Auricularia auricula-judae, and the common names Judas's Ear or Jew's Ear, but these are now considered insulting and derogaroty. In Europe this fungus is said to be particularly common on elder trees (Sambucus nigra) which is believed to have given rise to the tradition that Judas hanged himself on an elder tree, despite the fact that elder trees are not native to Palestine.

Large

Mushroom varying from less than an inch to several inches wide, rubbery, gelatinous-looking, brown, more-or-less round, withwavy edges and large wrinkles, flattened to bowl-shaped, attached by short central stalk. With the help of just a little imagination it does look like a misshapen ear growing out of a decaying log, stick or stump, giving rise to both the common and scientific names (auricula is Latin for little ear). The fertile surface, from which the spores are released, is usually pointing downward and is smooth and shiny, while the sterile back surface is somewhat whitened and downy. Fruits spring to fall, especially after a period of wet weather. The fruiting body can persist between wet periods by drying up and becoming small, dark and hard, as in the picture at bottom right.

Common in Wildwood.

The weird ear shape, brown color, and growth on wood make this an easy mushroom to recognize.

Small, from side
Cluster of small ones Small ones Two large ones
Mushroom   Mushroom, dry

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