(Jelly ear, Wood ear, Judas's Ear)
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Spore Print: White
Grows on both decaying hardwoods and conifer logs and sticks. It can be very abundant on Gambel's Oak in Colorado. It is most noticeable right after periods of rain when it will turn gelatinous. When dry it is much darker in and becomes hard. In fact you may not recognize it until it does rain enough to bring it out.
A close relative Auricularia polytricha has been used for centuries in China as both a food and medicine. It can be found in Chinese restaurants in Hot & Sour soup, egg rolls and other dishes. It is a tasteless fungus which takes on any flavor you give it.
The name Judas's ear originated from Judas Iscariot who was one of the twelve original apostles of Jesus. He committed suicide by hanging himself on an Elm tree. Later it grew this fungus which appeared to be ears. It was said that these were the ears of Judas. The is some controversy in the scientific name and it is one of the only species which has a hyphenated name. It has also been known as the Jew's ear mushroom.
Oct 01 2014 12:00 AM