Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Post 376 - Jolly Fabulous Jelly Fungus!

A white Jelly Fungus
Hey everyone, thought it was time I did a species post so I'm going to take a look at something I had not seen until the last few weeks, and now I seem to be seeing it everywhere! I wondered if it was to do with it being so wet, but maybe my research will reveal that...

It has been very, very rainy pretty much all of December where ever I have been - I got stuck in the Lakes due to Storm Desmond (see my Chaotic Climate Change post) and over this Christmas holiday there have been lots of floods in Yorkshire, but thankfully our village hasn't been badly affected, the village green flooded but that's all. The worst effect for me has been being stuck as roads have been flooded, but all the same I've stayed warm and dry and I feel very sorry for everybody that has been flooded, especially right over Christmas :-(

Before I get started on the species I want to ask anyone reading this a favour. After winning the BBC Wildlife Magazine Junior Blogger of the Year award I decided to enter the UK Blogger Awards, voting starts on 4th January. If I've done it right you'll be able to click on the button at the side to vote, but it won't work till then. I'd love to get even short listed for this so I'd be very grateful if you would cast me a vote :-)

So, sorry for the long pre-amble and onto today's fabulous fungi - Jelly Fungus! I mentioned how wet it has been and the first one I found was when I was stuck in the Lakes, it was just down a road on a tree in a hedgerow. The others I saw at Fox Glove Covert when I went there recently and at our local forest. So what did I find out about these fungi?

Crystal Brain Fungus (Exidia nucleata)
Spotted this on the ground looking just like frogspawn
  • The white jelly fungus caught my eye as at first I thought it was spawn of some form which I thought would be unusual for December!
  • In fact it turned out to be a jelly fungus, as far as I can work out it is Exidia nucleata or White Crystal Brain fungus.
  • They are quite common across most of the UK but more common in the South. 
  • The best time to find them is in late Autumn and Winter.
  • They like to grow on decaying wet wood.

  • It is made up of individual blobs about 1cm big but they coalesce (or join together) to form jelly like patches that look like frog spawn!

Orange Jelly Fungus (Tremella mesenterica)
  • The orangey one I think is Tremella mesenterica and it has a lot of common names including Orange Jelly Fungus, Yellow Brain Fungus, and my favourite - Witches Butter
  • It is found on dead branches in Autumn and Winter, this one grows on hardwood like the one in the picture but there is a another yellow jelly fungus that grows on pine called Dacrymyces palmatus
  • It grows after rain but this fungus is quite interesting in that if it dries out it will go crusty but can revive itself back into jelly when it rains again.
  • Its latin name Tremella means trembling which refers to the wobbly nature of the fungus. The second bit is made from Ancient Greek words meso and enteron which means middle intestine. Apparently it looks like a wobbly middle intestine! Euw...
Also know as Witches butter!
  • There are legends from Eastern Europe that say if this fungus grows on the door or gate of a home the house has had a spell cast on it by a witch. To remove the spell you had to pierce the fungus with something sharp until it died.
  • Fruiting bodies form dense clusters and are about 1-6cm by 2.5cm in size.
  • This is apparently an edible fungus if it is boiled or steamed but not raw! May not be worth trying though as it is meant to be rubbery and not tasty.
  • This fungus doesn't break down wood but is a parasite of another type of fungus, a crust fungus.
Possibly a rare white Yellow Jelly Fungus
  • The first one I found is in this last picture and might be something quite rare from what I have read, but I'm not sure.
  • The Yellow Jelly fungus can have a rare white form Tremella mesenterica var. alba - the alba bit means white. I'm not certain about this but I can't find another fungus like it.

Well, that's about all I could find but try these links for more pics and info:

Hope you enjoyed, 



  1. Amazing shots here Zach, how cool is the jelly fungus?! - Tasha

  2. There was a Roman authority on farming called Tremellius Scrofa - wonder if he was a bit wobbly

    1. That would be funny, a wobbly Roman farmer :-)