Scientific Name: – Auricularia auricula-judae
Auricularia auricula-judae, known as the Jew’s ear, wood ear, jelly ear or by a number of other common names, is a species of edible Auriculariales fungus found worldwide. The fruiting body is distinguished by its noticeably ear-like shape and brown colouration; it grows upon wood, especially elder. Its specific epithet is derived from the belief that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from an elder tree; the common name “Judas’s ear” eventually became “Jew’s ear”, while today “jelly ear” and other names are sometimes used. The fungus can be found throughout the year in temperate regions worldwide, where it grows upon both dead and living wood.
The fruit body of A. auricula-judae is normally 3 to 8 centimetres (1.2 to 3.1 in) across, but can be as much as 12 centimetres (4.7 in). It is distinctively shaped, typically being reminiscent of a floppy ear, though the fruit bodies can also be cup-shaped. It is normally attached to the substrate laterally and sometimes by a very short stalk. The species has a tough, gelatinous, elastic texture when fresh, but it dries hard and brittle. The outer surface is a bright reddish-tan-brown with a purplish hint, often covered in tiny, downy hairs of a grey colour. It can be smooth, as is typical of younger specimens, or undulating with folds and wrinkles. The colour becomes darker with age. The inner surface is a lighter grey-brown in colour and smooth. It is sometimes wrinkled, again with folds and wrinkles, and may have “veins”, making it appear even more ear-like.