Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.


"This artificial group of fungi, which includes species in the orders Tremellales, Auriculariales, and Dacrymycetales, is characterized by fruiting bodies that are geatinous or jellylike to tough and are found on rotting wood or on the forest floor. The characteristic firm but gelatinous fruiting bodies of the jelly fungi are a result of the formation and accumulation of gelatinous compounds around the threadlike mycelia that interweave, forming the fruiting bodies."[MOFMUS Huffman]

"JELLY fungi differ fundamentally from other Basidiomycetes in the structure of their basidia, which are partitioned (septate) or forked rather than simple and clublike. The rust and smut fungi also have partitioned basidia, but are not considered to be mushrooms. Although the basidia are microscopic, jelly fungi can usually be told in the field by the gelatinous jellylike) or rubbery texture that gives them their name." [MushDemyst]

"Auricularia and Tremella are also cultivated on a large scale in China and Taiwan. Production methods are essentially similar to those employed for shiitake." [TheFungi2] "Ear mushrooms, including Auricularia and Tremella spp., were found to be medically active in several therapeutic effects. Methanolic extracts prepared from five kinds of ear mushrooms including black, red, jin, snow, and silver ears showed moderate antioxidant activities in the 1,3-diethyl-2-thiobarbituric acid method (38.6-74.6%) at 1.0-5.0 mg/ml (Mau et al., 2001)." [Rai PM]

"Jelly fungi were previously detected in ericoid mycorrhizae of Calluna vulgaris based on ultrastructure of the hyphal septal pore (Bonfante-Fasolo, 1980). " [SoilBio-34]

Local Families & Species


"The Auriculariaceae are a family of fungi in the order Auriculariales. Species within the family were formerly referred to the "heterobasidiomycetes" or "jelly fungi", since many have gelatinous basidiocarps (fruit bodies) that produce spores on septate basidia. Around 100 species are known worldwide. All are believed to be saprotrophic, most growing on dead wood." [Wiki-3]

"Molecular research, based on cladistic analysis of DNA sequences, has confirmed that the Auriculariaceae belong within the order Auriculariales, but has also indicated that the family is not distinguishable from the Exidiaceae.[5] The precise circumscription of families within the order has not yet been examined, but a clade containing Auricularia and Exidia species (plus their allies) equates to the Auriculariaceae.[5]" [Wiki-3]

"The Auriculariales are distinguishable from the Tremellales... which have yeast-like monokaryotic stages, and from the Ceratobasidiales and Dacrymycetales which have aseptate basidia. Although taxonomic adjustments continue to be made, there is now little doubt that the order Auriculariales should contain both Auricularia with its transversely septate basidia, and Exidia and Pseudohydnum, which have basidia with longitudinal septa, the so-called tremelloid basidia (Weiss & Oberwinkler, 2001)." [IntrotoFun3]

"Of the [Auricularia] species now recognized, three of them, namely A. delicata, A. tenuis, and A. emini, grow only in the tropics, and three others, namely, A. mesenterica, A. ornata, and A. polytncha, occur in both tropical and subtropical regions. Two species, namely, A. cornea and A. fuscosuccinea, have a more flexible temperature requirement and are found to grow from temperate to tropical regions. However, A. auricula is a temperate species and is only occasionally found in the subtropics." [Chang BCEM]


  • Basidiodendron caesiocinereum [E-flora]
  • Basidiodendron cinereum [E-flora]
  • Basidiodendron eyrei [E-flora]
  • Basidiodendron fulvum [E-flora]
  • Efibulobasidium albescens [E-flora]
  • Efibulobasidium rolleyi [E-flora]
  • Eichleriella deglubens [E-flora]
  • Exidia candida [E-flora]
  • Exidia glandulosa - black witch's butter [E-flora]
  • Exidia recisa - amber jelly roll [E-flora]
  • Exidia saccharina [E-flora]
  • Exidia zelleri [E-flora]
  • Exidiopsis 'calcea' [E-flora]
  • Exidiopsis diversa [E-flora]
  • Exidiopsis macrospora [E-flora]
  • Exidiopsis paniculata [E-flora]
  • Exidiopsis plumbescens [E-flora]
  • Leathesia difformis - Sea Cauliflower[E-flora]
  • Myxarium atratum - crystal brain [E-flora]
  • Protodontia oligacantha [E-flora]
  • Pseudohydnum gelatinosum - toothed jelly [E-flora]
  • Stypella subhyalina [E-flora]
  • Tremiscus helvelloides - apricot jelly mushroom [E-flora]


"Minute to small; typically on or near wood; saprophytic" []

"There are 9 genera and 101 species in the Dacrymycetaceae family.[6]" [Wiki-2] "8 Genera; 63 Species" []

"The DACRYMYCETACEAE is a family of saprophytic jelly fungi separated from other jelly fungi by the yellow to orange pigments and the Y -shaped basidia. The CERINOMYCETACEAE share these characteristics, but are resupinate and membranous-ceraceous in form." []

Three genera are found in western North America, two of which are documented from the region
1- Basidioma gum drop shaped, sometimes cupped apically Guepiniopsis
1- Basidioma shaped differently.
2- Basidioma coralloid or club-shaped Calocera
2- Basidioma glob-, knob-, fold-, or brain-like Dacrymyces []

  • Calocera cornea - Small staghorn [E-flora]
  • Calocera viscosa - Yellow tuning fork [E-flora]
  • Dacrymyces aquaticus [E-flora]
  • Dacrymyces capitatus [E-flora]
  • Dacrymyces chrysocomus [E-flora]
  • Dacrymyces chrysospermus - Orange jelly [E-flora]
  • Dacrymyces minor [E-flora]
  • Dacrymyces minutus [E-flora]
  • Dacrymyces ovisporus - Pine jelly-spot [E-flora]
  • Dacrymyces stillatus - Common jelly-spot [E-flora]
  • Dacrymyces tortus [E-flora]
  • Dacryonaema rufum [E-flora]
  • Dacryopinax spathularia [E-flora]
  • Ditiola peziziformis [E-flora]
  • Ditiola radicata [E-flora]
  • Femsjonia pezizaeformis [E-flora]
  • Guepiniopsis buccina [E-flora]
  • Heterotextus alpinus - Golden jelly cone [E-flora]
  • Heterotextus luteus [E-flora]


"The Tremellaceae are a family of fungi in the order Tremellales. The family is cosmopolitan and contains both teleomorphic and anamorphic genera, most of the latter being yeasts. All teleomorphic species of fungi in the Tremellaceae are parasites of other fungi, though the yeast states are widespread and not restricted to hosts. Basidiocarps (fruit bodies), when produced, are gelatinous." [Wiki-1]

"The family currently comprises 18 genera (plus synonyms), containing around 250 valid species. Significant genera include Tremella, two species of which are edible and commercially cultivated,[1] and the yeast genus Cryptococcus, several species of which are human pathogens, causing cryptococcosis.[2]" [Wiki-1]

"That most or all species of the Tremellales [order] are mycoparasites has been reported repeatedly. " "Tremella is the largest and most heterogeneous genus in the Tremellaceae." "more than 170 species [of Tremella] known" [BOF Elsevier]

Habitat/Range: "Teleomorphic species of the Tremellaceae are parasitic on other fungi in the phyla Ascomycota (including lichens) and Basidiomycota. They typically parasitize species that grow on dead wood of living shrubs and trees and it may be that their gelatinous fruit bodies are an adaption to such a periodically arid environment.[13] The family is cosmopolitan in distribution, though individual species may be restricted to temperate regions or the tropics. The anamorphic yeast states are typically widespread and not restricted to host or substrate." [Wiki-1]

  • Sirotrema parvula [E-flora]
  • Sirotrema pusilla [E-flora]
  • Sirotrema translucens [E-flora]
  • Tremella aurantia [E-flora]
  • Tremella aurantia group [E-flora]
  • Tremella cetrariicola [E-flora]
  • Tremella cladoniae [E-flora]
  • Tremella encephala [E-flora]
  • Tremella exigua [E-flora]
  • Tremella foliacea - brown witch's butter [E-flora]
  • Tremella globispora [E-flora]
  • Tremella hypogymniae [E-flora]
  • Tremella lethariae [E-flora]
  • Tremella lichenicola [E-flora]
  • Tremella mesenterella [E-flora]
  • Tremella mesenterica - witch's butter [E-flora]
  • Tremella moriformis - mulberry brain [E-flora]
  • Tremella mycetophiloides [E-flora]
  • Tremella nephromatis [E-flora]
  • Tremella papuana [E-flora]
  • Tremella polyporina [E-flora]
  • Tremella subanomala [E-flora]
  • Tremella subencephala [E-flora]


Auricularia Sp.

Activities (Auricularia spp.) [HMH Duke]

  • Allergenic (1; HOB);
  • Analgesic (f; HOB);
  • Antiaging (1; HOB);
  • Antiaggregant (1; HOB);
  • Antifertility (1; HOB);
  • Antiinflammatory (1; HOB);
  • Antileukocytopenic (1; HOB);
  • Antimutagenic (1; HOB);
  • Antioxidant (1; HOB);
  • Antiradicular (1; HOB);
  • Antisarcomic (1; HOB);
  • Antiseptic (1; HOB);
  • Antispasmodic (f; HOB);
  • Antitumor (1; HOB);
  • Antiulcer (1; HOB);
  • Dermatitigenic (1; HOB);
  • Energizer (f; HOB);
  • Expectorant (f; HOB);
  • Hypocholesterolemic (1; HOB);
  • Hypotriglyceridemic (1; HOB);
  • Immunostimulant (1; HOB);
  • Lipolytic (1; HOB);
  • MAOI(1; HOB);
  • Myorelaxant (f; HOB);
  • Vulnerary (f; HOB).

A. polytricha & A. auricula

Auricularia auricula (L.:HOOK.) UNDERW.; - Jew's Ear Local

Auricularia delicata (Fr.) Henn.

"Basidiocarp rubbery gelatinous; solitary or gregarious; ear-shaped with the margin slightly downward reflexed; sessile or rarely substipitate, up to 8 cm wide... This species grows on dead wood or dead branches of trees, and is found all around the island from south to north. Mountain people collect A. polytricha for the purpose of selling, and their collections are always found to be mixed with at least 3% of this species. Because of its strongly porose-reticulated hymenial surface, this species can be distinguished from other species macroscopically without any difficulty." [Chang BCEM]

"Auricularia cornea (Ehrenb) Ehrenb ex Endl., A. delicata Henn. This is a kind of gelatinous fungi that grow in clusters on dead wood. Use: hanal ‘food’; Prep: chäkbil yetel bu'ul ‘boiled with beans’." [Cook TFLM] Edible [Tibuhwa,2013]

Auricularia fuscosuccinea

Auricularia mesenterica:

Auricularia polytricha (MONTAGNE) SACC.

Guepinia helvelloides - Apricot Jelly Mushroom Local


Exidiopsis plumbescens Local

Leathesia difformis - Sea Cauliflower Local

Protodontia oligacantha Local


Pseudohydnum gelatinosum - Toothed Jelly Fungus Local

Above Images: Pseudohydnum gelatinosum


Exidia glandulosa - Witches' Butter


"Dacrymyces is a rather common genus of jelly-fungi, forming variously shaped, watery to firm gelatinous fruitbodies throughout the year. While most species are yellow or orange, some can be colorless and others are brown. In texture and appearance they are somewhat like Tremella, although many species of the latter have tougher fruitbodies. It often takes microscopic examination to confirm the genus—two-spored tuning fork basidia in Dacrymyces and four-spored, longitudinally septate basidia in Tremella." [Trudell MPNW] Dacrymyces are saprotrophs - decay of downed wood and wood associated with dead trees [Esser IA]


"Species of Calocera, one group of the jelly fungi, produce small, 2 - 12mm tall, tough-gelatinous yellow fruiting bodies on wood. These dry to become hard and revive when moistened." [MOFMUS Huffman]

"At first sight the ubiquitous cylindrical orange outgrowths of C. viscosa from coniferous logs..., or the smaller C. cornea from hardwood logs..., could be mistaken for species of Clavaria. However, the gelatinous texture and the characteristically forked basidia... place them in the Dacrymycetales, and this placement has been confirmed by molecular phylogenetic studies (Weiss & Oberwinkler, 2001)." [IntrotoFun3]

"Calocera cornea is a wood-inhabiting jelly-fungus. Its growth in large troops on rotting logs and small size set it apart from the other club-fungi.... It occurs throughout much of the world..." [Trudell MPNW] Edible. [WEFGO]

"Calocera viscosa is closely related [to C. cornea], but is brighter in color, coralloid, and occurs on conifer wood" It also "...looks very much like a clavaria or clavulinopsis" [Trudell MPNW] Edible. [WEFGO] Contains carotenoids [Strange Carotenoids]

Dacrymyces aquaticus Local

Dacrymyces capitatus Local

Above: Dacrymyces palmatus

Dacrymyces palmatus - Orange jelly (Syn; Dacrymyces chrysospermus) [E-flora-2] Local

Dacrymyces stillatus - Orange Jelly

Dacryopinax spathularia Local


"The genus Tremella belongs to the order of the Tremellales, and the family of the Tremellaceae, part of the heterobasidiomycetous fungi. Primarily on the basis of observations, the species are thought to be mycoparasites that occur on ascomycetes and basidiomycetes, especially those colonizing recently killed woody twigs, and on lichens (Boekhout et al. 1998). Tremellales and Filobasidiales are the only known taxa with yeast phases." [Baets2001]


"Tremella fuciformis has both medicinal and culinary uses. The polysaccharides and steroids it contains reportedly have antitumor and anti-inflammatory properties and also serve as a general tonic. The white jelly fungus can be included in desserts and added to soups and other dishes. Though it has little flavor, the smooth gelatinous texture of this mushroom is appealing to the Asian palate. Other species of Tremella, such as the golden ear (T. aurantia), are also cultivated in China and used in traditional medicines." [EPMW Hall]

Tremella mesenterica and T. fuciformis; "It has a long historical use in traditional Chinese medicine as an immune tonic and for treating debility and exhaustion together with many other ailments including skin-care. It contains acidic polysaccharides...readily extracted with hot water giving a smooth and stable solution used in Oriental cuisine.... Clinical trials have shown it to be effective in treating radio- and chemo-therapy-induced leukopenia, boosting immunological functions and stimulating leukocyte activity (Hu and But, 1987).[Smith 2002 MM]

Veterinary Aid: "Tremella spp., jelly fungus. Purge for cattle (Skye323)." [MPFT]



"...tremellastin from Tremella mesenterica. (Retzius)" is commercially obtained as a medicinal mushroom product. [Lindequist, 2005] Tremellastin - Immunomodulator - from T. fuciformis and T. mesenterica. [Lindequist, 2005]

"Three heteroglycans, T1a, T1b, and T1c, have been isolated from the body of Tremella fuciformis. They have been shown to induce human white blood cells to produce interleukin-1 (IL-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a significant immunostimulating potential. Most of these effects come from long-term consumption of the fungus." [HealingMushrooms]

"The sugar profiles of extracellular polysaccharides, which were derivatised to alditol acetates and identified by GC, from different Tremella species showed that all of the polysaccharides contained essentially the same sugars but in different ratios [225]." [Varela MP]


"Adventurous mushroomers who experiment with strange and otherworldly-looking mushrooms don’t seem to have problems when they confuse these very similar-looking species. All are edible, apparently. Orange jelly, however, can challenge the best cook. Like many other jelly mushrooms, they are flavorless, gummy, and watery. Sautéing reduces them to pasty goo." [FGWMP Russell]

Species In Australia: "Jelly fungi (Tremella) are another group found on wood in damp forests. They are usually yellow, orange, white or brown, with a sloppy gelatinous structure and no obvious shape, though some kinds resemble tiny antlers or stalactites. Not much is known about them but they appear to be harmless, having a pleasant jelly taste." [Low WFP] "The brilliant yellow jelly fungi Tremella mesenterica Fr., Calocera guepinioides Berk., and Heterotextus pezizitormis (Berk.) Lloyd, are prominent on wet well-rotted fallen branches and logs throughout the forest." [Werger TJF]

Tremella aurantica Local

"Other species of Tremella, such as the golden ear (T. aurantia), are also cultivated in China and used in traditional medicines." [EPMW Hall]

Tremella foliacea - brown witch's butter Local

Tremella fuciformis - White Jelly Fungus [EPMW Hall]

Tremella lutescens - Yellow Jelly Fungus

Tremella mesenterica - Witch’s butter Local

Mycological Associations

"It has been shown that Tremella has only a weak ability to break down wood. For this reason wood with rich nutrients of good solubility, i.e., a wood rich in sapwood, is commonly selected for wood log cultivation. It has also been demonstrated experimentally that Tremella lacks the ability to degrade either cellulose or lignin. It is the role of the biological factor or friend of the mycelium to help Tremella in the digestion of the wood and to provide some residual nutrition. The featherlike hyphae of the ascomycete lead the way into the wood log, and presumably provide some nutrition to support the growth of Tremella. The term featherlike mycelium refers to the appearance of the mycelium, while the phrase leading the way refers to its role in wood log utilization in association with Tremella." [Chang Mushrooms]

"One companion species that can be used is the ascomycete Hypoxylon archeri (Chang and Miles 1989)." [EPMW Hall] "Tremella species are mycoparasites—they don’t eat the wood but rather another fungus that is eating the wood. In this case, the host fungus is Hypoxylon archeri, one of the black Pyrenomycetes, all of which are wood decay fungi." [HealingMushrooms]


Further Research

"Tremellales can be identified in North America using Europe using Breitenbach and Kränzlin (1984);..." [BOF Elsevier]

"a considerable proportion of the Tremellales are tropical, but their geographic distributions are still poorly known." [BOF Elsevier]

Jelly images not yet identified

Unknown Species


Page last modified on Sunday, July 11, 2021 9:29 PM