Auricularia auricula

Scientific name:  Auricularia auricula (Hooker) Underwood
Derivation of nameAuric- refers to "ear" and the ear-like
lobes this fungus often forms.
SynonymsAuricularia auricula-judae (Fr.) J. Schrot.;
Hirneola auricula-judae (L.) Berk.  
Common name(s):  Tree-ear; Wood-ear
Phylum:   Basidiomycota
Order:   Auriculariales
Family:   Auriculariaceae
Occurrence on wood substrate:  Saprobic; hardwoods
and conifers; spring through fall. 
Dimensions:  3-15 cm wide; ear-shaped to irregularly
cup-shaped, sometimes fused together.  
Sterile outer surface: Usually the upper surface; yellowish-
brown to reddish brown or grayish-brown; minutely hairy;
often ribbed or veined.         
Fertile inner surface: Usually facing downward; yellowish-
brown to reddish-brown; hairless; often ribbed or veined.
Edibility: Edible
Comments: According to Arora, sometimes called Judas' ear
because "it was believed that when Judas hanged
himself on an elder tree, these ear-shaped excrescenses
were condemned to appear on elders thereafter."

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Figure 1. Wood-ears clustered on a log. Photo © Larry Grand.


Figure 2. A cluster of tree-ears is growing to the left of the
polypore fungi in the lower right portion of this stump.
Photo © Gary Emberger.


Figure 3. The cluster of tree-ears referenced in Fig. 2.
Note the wrinkling or folding of the upper, sterile surface.
Photo © Gary Emberger.


Figure 4. These are the fungi shown in Fig. 3 but after a
day of rain. Many of the wrinkles and folds have
disappeared. Photo © Gary Emberger.


Figure 5. A typical reddish-brown specimen of tree-ear.
Photo © Pam Kaminski.


Figure 6. Note the wavy or lobed margin which is quite
typical of wood-ears. Photo © Fred Habegger.


Figure 7. These specimens were found November 30,
2003, illustrating how late in the season they can be found.
The upper, sterile surfaces are conspicuously gray due to
the presence of minute hairs. Photo © Gary Emberger.


Figure 8. The fertile surface of one of the specimens
shown in Fig. 7. Photo © Gary Emberger.


Figure 9. The finely pubescent gray sterile surface of one
of the November 30 specimens. Photo © Gary
Emberger.


Figure 10. These dried specimens from the collection
illustrated in Fig. 7 show the typical blackish color
observed upon drying. The specimen on the right is gray
due to a layer of fine hairs. Photo © Gary Emberger.

 

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