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Orange Peel Fungus

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Summer Summer

A very unusual, completely unmistakable, and edible mushroom.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Orange Peel Fungus
Scientific Name Aleuria aurantia
Season Start Aug
Season End Nov
Average Mushroom height (CM) 5
Average Cap width (CM) 10
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Fruiting Body

No distinct cap, just a sheet of thin fragile bright orange flesh usually corrugated forming a rosette sometimes with multiple ‘petals’. Can be completely flat to the ground, or more upright becoming 5cm tall.

Pores

Pores are too small to see with the naked eye but are on the upper surface of the cap to allow the spores to be released into the air and be blown away.

Stem

No real stem, more a very short thickening in the middle of the cap going into the ground.

Flesh

Very thin, same colour as underside of cap.

Habitat

Saprobic on grass, gravel, or soil, usually compacted such as the side of paths.

Possible Confusion

Some members of the Peziza family, pictured, can look similar and are poisonous but are brown to tan and never as bright orange as the Orange Peel Fungus.
The Scarlet and Ruby Elfcup are similar but bright red.

Taste / Smell

Pleasantly mushroomy

Frequency

Locally very common, where you find one you will likely find many.

Spores

White, ellipsoid. These are ejected from the upper surface of the cap in a rush when they are fully developed and the mushroom is knocked.

COMMENTS

7 comments for Orange Peel Fungus

  1. uwidavid says:

    I tried picking some of these. They stained my fingers yellow and, when I came to clean them, the soil was stuck firmly to the undersides so I gave up.

  2. pete says:

    Spotted today 16:02:21 in woods – wrong time of year?

    1. Phil Leng says:

      Hi Pete, absolutely the right time of the year for Scarlet Elf Cups. They are a winter mushroom, appearing between November and March, but concentrated in the winter months.

  3. Jasmine says:

    Hi, Can these mushrooms grow on rotting wood too?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Orange Peel Fungus are saprobic meaning they consume and decompose organic matter so it is possible to find them growing on dead wood in soil but not on a living tree. Some similar looking mushrooms that grow on wood and living trees are from the Dacramyces or Guepiniopsis genus.

  4. Derek Caines says:

    Tell me are they ever purple in colour ,I removed a large plastic tub from my compost heap. And found this purple lettuce like fungus.

    1. Phil Leng says:

      Hi Derek, nope, orange peel fungus definitely only comes in orange. Purple-ish ones that look a bit similar are tripe fungus, Auricularia mesentrica, that as its name suggests is more fleshy than lettuce like. Some of the other cup fungi (Pezizales group) are a red-brown which might fit the bill, the bay cup, Peziza badia and Peziza michelii (no common name), or several other of the 500+ species in the group. If you had some photos that might help (but might not in this tricky group).

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