The jelly-ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae)

Many of you have probably seen this aplenty, usually on stumps or fallen stems and large branches. A coloniser of dead wood, this fungus induces a white rot that delignifies its substrate. It is typically found on hardwood trees, with elder (Sambucus nigra) being a particularly common host, though I have to say that I have seen it on an array of species of deciduous broadleaved trees – Acer pseudoplatanus, Quercus robur, and Robinia pseudoacacia to name three. I find the morphology of this fungus very interesting, as well as its plentiful production of sporophores. Not one that you see in isolation, very often.

As with all saprophytes, it will mineralise (liberate) nutrients locked away with wood, ensuring that a supply of nutrients is put back into the soil for living plants to utilise.

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A close-up shot of a few sporophores, which have colonised a Robinia pseudoacacia stump.
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The fungus has colonised and is fruiting on exposed wood, free from bark. This is a common theme I have notice with this fungus, in the sense that it doesn’t appear to regularly fruit upon bark-covered substrate.
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The jelly-ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae)

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