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Wood Ears

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Spring Spring
Summer Summer
Winter Winter

Very common and can be found year round, usually most abundant in January and February when there is not much else about.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Wood Ears, Tree Ears, Jelly Ears
Scientific Name Auricularia auricula-judae
Season Start All Year
Season End All Year
Average Mushroom height (CM) 0
Average Cap width (CM) 5
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Fruiting Body

The fruiting body is ear-shaped, smooth or undulating, covered in very fine down and is tan, red/brown in colour.


The underside is smoother and lighter than the top surface.


Translucent, thin and jelly like.


Mainly growing on dead or living elder in large numbers but can be found occasionally on other wood.

Possible Confusion

As long as you only collect these from elder trees they can only be Wood Ears.
Some Pezizas, pictured, can look similar but these don’t tend to grow on elder and grow with the ‘cup shape’ facing up, the Wood Ears face down.

Spore Print

White. Sausage shaped.

Taste / Smell

Not strong but good if used in Asian style cooking or dried, ground to a fine powder and used as stock.


Very common.

Other Facts

Can be picked in its dry state and re-hydrated when needed or picked fresh and dried at home.
Can withstand frosts and grows all year round.
Named after the apostle, Judas, who allegedly hanged himself from an elder tree.


7 comments for Wood Ears

  1. Myfanwyevan MattesFlinn says:

    I have a friend of Celtic descent who is so passionate about the difficulties of mushroom foraging that it was not until I found the presentation on your wwwebsite that I can now affirm this knowledge as a part of my heritage. I knew that I know (Peck, Mycology, Cornell University) how easily it is for me to find these hearty woodland treats, along with fern fiddle buds, is a divine feature of my family tree. A beautiful way to enjoy the outdoors it makes my home in Central New York State seem closer at heart to vales and drumlins on ‘your side of the pond’. Truly just another reason to love Wales. ~ Myfanwyevan Mattes of the GriffithDavis.

  2. coolkid123 says:

    this is so so so so so so so epicthank you xd

  3. Gemma Shennan says:

    We are in the borders of Scotland. My middle daughter Chrissie-Ann (aged 4) 100% believes these are Elf ears! 😊. Of course they can get those big Elf ears caught while jumping around the woods., (although they grow back when they sleep.. we told her! ) they are very convincing Elf ears!

  4. Deb (Owl ) Manns says:

    In our forest school they are ‘Goblin ears’ left on old Elder branches so the Goblins can hear what the children say!

  5. James says:

    In Nottingham they are dinner !

  6. Kate says:

    In thailand we use it in Ginger chicken stir fry (gai pad king/ไก่ผัดขิง). It’s a lot of flavor this way.

  7. Venus says:

    These are called breakfast to me! Garlic, water,oil a little sea salt, chucked in with bean sprouts,, spinach and Chinese 5 spice. Only shown to the wok. Crusty brown pitta is best for mopping liquor…

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