Mittwoch, 26. Oktober 2011

Plant of the Day (October 26th, 2011) - Auricularia auricula-judae Bul. Fr. & Quell.

O.k., Auricularia auricula-judae Bull. Fr. & Quel. is not a plant, but a fungus from the Auriculariaceae family. In Germany it's called “Judasohr” which is also the exact translation of its English name “Judas Ear”. Other common names are “jelly fungi”, “Black Fungus” or (in German) “Hollunderschwamm” (elder mushroom).

A. auricula-judae - habitus (note the shape of an ear)

It's a medium sized fungus with 3 to 10 centimetres in diameter and 2 millimetres in thickness. The convex mushroom (also Karposoma) is nearly ear-shaped, what is also the reason for its name. It has a bright-brown to grey ventral side, while the dorsal site is dark-brown to fleshy-brown. The flesh is tough, gelatinous with a mild flavour and a musty smell of earth. The small spores are white and have a plain surface.

A. auricula-judae - on a branch

This fungus grows on the stems or branches of trees. It's a parasite, which infests weak, death or sick wood. Its primary host is Sambucus nigra L. (Elder), what also gave the species it's name. After his betrayal of Jesus, Judas had hanged himself on a elder tree. It's a cosmopolitan and can be found all over the world and all over the year (it's tolerant towards frost).

A. auricula-judae - habitus

A. auricula-judae is also one of the most popular edible mushrooms of the world and part of many recipe for mushroom dishes; especially in the Asian cuisine, although this fungus has no flavour but for that a pleasant mouth feel.

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