What do tree ear mushrooms have in common with my ears? If you ask my wife she’ll tell ya they both grow on dead wood and hear about equally.
Tree ear mushrooms have a gelatinous, rubbery texture with little to no taste. (or so I’ve read, I don’t put fungus in my mouth). They’re grown commercially and often used in oriental soups. If you look you can also find dried wood-ear mushrooms for sale on-line. When re-hydrated they regain their gummi-bear texture.
After the recent rain and cool temps I could have harvested a couple of pounds of fresh ears today. They seemed to be everywhere I looked in the old hemlock woods. Even if I did bring some home my wife wouldn’t have put any in today’s soup. She knows better than to trust my mushroom identification skills but I’m pretty certain I got the name of this jelly mushroom correct.
This photo from an old post illustrates the ear shape better than any of the photos I took today.
…and now for a little orange slime
We can all see they’re orange, but the common name for this slime mold is:
Yellow Fuzz Cone Slime – Hemitrichia clavata
About a mile away on another rotting hemlock log they were brown. I would have thunk the orange ones were the younger but the white protoplasmic ooze they from is clearly seen in the second photo. That observation makes me think the brown ones may be younger but it seems the color is more a difference between colonies rather than from age.
I’d like to go back and catch them after they ‘go to
seed spore’. That’s when they resemble their common name. Yellowish fuzzy threads burst through the top and it all looks like a tiny ice cream cone gone bad.
These are very tiny, each ball is smaller than the head of a pin. Thank goodness they grow in such numbers. The bright orange ones can be spotted at a fair distance. I had to nearly trip over the log before seeing the brown ones.
…and now a little more fun with slime
Wolf’s Milk or Toothpaste Slime Mold.
View more about my favorite log pimple on an old post – Toothpaste Slime Mold.
The photos are much better on that post. I hope you can stomach them.
note: the brown – yellow fuzz cone slime is all over my screen.
I just switched desktop backgrounds