Jelly Ear – Auricularia auricula-judae

When young and fresh this velvety brownish fungus has a gelatinous, wrinkled fleshy texture, shaped much like that of a floppy ear. As it ages and especially in dry weather, it hardens and shrinks, and it becomes darker in colour and quite brittle. Fruit body 4 to 15cm wide.

Seen throughout the year, but mainly in the spring and winter months. Found in deciduous woodland, preferring to grow on dead elderberry, but will thrive on other broadleaved trees and shrubs. It often grows in clusters or tiers on standing or fallen trees. Widespread and very common. Also known as ‘Jew’s Ear’ or ‘Judas’s Ear’ after the belief that Judas Iscariot hung himself from an elder tree. This is where the scientific name originates from.