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Jelly 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 Jelly Ears, Wood Ears, Tree Ears, Mu Erh
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. It is smooth or undulating, covered in very fine down and is tan, red/brown in colour.

Pores

The underside is smoother and lighter than the top surface.

Flesh

Translucent, thin and jelly like.

Habitat

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 Jelly 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 Jelly 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.

Frequency

Very common and widespread in the UK.

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.

COMMENTS

10 comments for Jelly 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…

  8. Anna says:

    Great website. I am so passionate about foraging and currently practice it over in Ireland. I foraged wild mushrooms since I was 6 years old and this is something that my parents did and passed over to me and my brother. Nature has so much to offer, wild herbs, fruits, nuts and mushrooms.

  9. AldoTheGreen says:

    I am a design graduate who is also a keen gardener ive designed a few mushroom collection points for our local woodlands where forestry can cut back the wood to encourage new growth but the mushroom points can recycle the cut branches. Do jelly ears grow on dead wood or do they need to be living trees. If they grow on cut dead wood then these could be an addition to the oyster mushrooms in my mushroom collection point design

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Wood Ears(Jelly Ears) grow on dead elder and very occasionally on other deciduous trees. If you can find an elder with wood ears on the dead branches, they are very common, move any dropped branches to piles of elder in your mushroom collection point. It would be better if your pile was close to a living elder. Wood Ears can be farmed very easily. Dead hazel wood is good for Scarlet Elf Cups, a beautiful and edible mushroom. Dead birch is good for Birch Polypores. Many different kinds of wood are good for Velvet Shanks which are edible and grow through Christmas and winter. Many mushrooms should come up in the Autumn following tree felling as the mushrooms have lost their mycorrhizal partner and are desperate to procreate. Good luck with the woodland.

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