Golden ear

Tremella aurantia

The golden ear (Tremella aurantia) a jelly fungus, thus one species of heterobasidiomycota. It looks like a colourful mass of folded lobes of opal or slightly shiny orange depending on its hydratation level, golden according to its name aurantia. It is parasitic over another fungus, Stereum hirsutum, that decays evergreen oak woods. The golden ear is mostly found on stumps and fallen trunks. The pictures on top display both fungus, the host Stereum hirsutum and the golden ear. In pictures below, the golden ear in condition progressively drier. The golden ear is the most common Tremella species in evergreen oak forests of Montserrat and Sant Llorenç del Munt.

The golden ear is often mistaken with the witch’s butter (T.mesenterica). The witch’s butter is a shapeless jelly of really shiny yellow colour. Also the leafy brain (T.foliacea) is similar to the golden ear and it is parasitic over Stereum sp. as well. The leafy brain is paler colour and displays thinner lobes.

[photos Jordi Badia]