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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, Croen Oren (CY), Dzieżka Pomarańczowa (PL), Narancsszínű Csészegomba (HU)
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.


Does not have gills but the underside is paler than the upper surface and finely flocculose with a more matt finish.


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.


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


Very thin, same colour as underside of cap.


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

Possible Confusion

Some species from genus Peziza, pictured, can look similar but are brown to tan and never as bright orange as the Orange Peel Fungus. Pezizas are inedible not toxic.
The Scarlet and Ruby Elfcup are similar but bright red.
The Salmon Salad Fungus (Guepinia helvelloides), can look similar but is more a salmon pink than bright orange. It is edible but not worth eating so confusion would not be dangerous.

Taste / Smell

Pleasantly mushroomy


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


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.


18 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).

  5. Elizabeth Wills says:

    Several of these attractive fungus in my lawn where a large Aspen tree has been removed, will they appear again next year? October 2021

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Most mushrooms will appear in the same place year after year but the weather and other plants/fungi can stop this from happening.

  6. Eric Biggane says:

    I’ve seen them with almost white undersides but if you send photos to [email protected] I could try and ID them for you.

  7. Michelle says:

    My husband and I went up picking morels last night and I came across these, (I think) as I have NEVER seen them before and they were so intriguing, I had to find out what they were. We live in Eastern Oregon and it is May. Is this correct to be the Orange Peel this time of year and location? Is there a way to send a picture so you can look at and tell me what you think?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      You can send photos to [email protected]. Please include photos of the stem/cap and if possible, a mushroom cut in half.

  8. Isaac Ocasio says:

    Hey, is it OK for it to be growing under my sink?

    1. Attila Fodi says:

      Hi Isaac,
      Orange Peel Fungus (Aleuria aurantia) doesn’t grow under sinks. It might grow on clay and/or disturbed soils, but not under sinks. There are a few lookalikes of this beautiful species, most of them are in different genera.

  9. Anthony says:

    I’d suggest there is a lookalike called the salmon salad fungus. Apparently it’s not common in the U.K but locally abundant in south Wales where I live. It grows in large patches on old coal mining industrial sites in my area.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Thanks Anthony, it is not a mushroom I have found before.

  10. Joyce says:

    I saw these in late August in Washington Island Wisconsin,US. Is this a common area for them?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      I’m afraid I have no idea about where US mushrooms grow, Sorry.

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