WiseAcre Gardens

north of the adirondacks – wildflowers & perennials that survive winters colder than my wife's feet

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Posted by WiseAcre on Sep 21st, 2009

Freaky Fungi

Sep 21

The Trees Have Ears

That is, only dead trees have ears. Tree Ear Mushrooms are Saprophytes obtaining their nutrients from decaying organic matter.

Auricularia auricula
Tree Ear Mushroom

I can hear the ladies now. Those ears are just like my husband’s – growing on dead wood.

And even better ladies, you can nibble on these ears too. Tree Ears are edible but that’s as much as I know about their culinary uses. Whether these jelly mushrooms have to be cooked before eating is a mystery to me.

A closely related ( if not the same species) Wood Ear – Auricularia polytricha is cultivated and available in dried form in almost every oriental food store.

auricularia auricula

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

When a women talks to her husband how long does he have to listen before not heaingr what she’s saying?

Parasite Bolete – Pseudoboletus parasiticus

This is the only Bolete (formally known as – Boletus parasiticus) that is a puffball parasite. The Earthball – Scleroderma citrinum, AKA Pigskin Poison Puffball has the distinct honor of being the host. Both these mushrooms are being shuffled around the Fungus Family but they’ll always remain together.

Boletus parasiticus

Turns out I didn’t need to get a pic of the bolete’s underside in order to identify it. The relationship between these two mushrooms was a dead give away to their identities.

Edibility Notes:

Take the hint from Pigskin Poison Puffball’s name. It is.

The Parasite Bolete is reportedly edible. I think you’d have to be crazier than me to try it.

Parasite Bolete

Dead Man’s Fingers – Xylaria polymorpha

They don’t claw their way out of the ground. Dead Man’s Fingers grow out of dead hardwood.

Dead Man's Fingers Mushroom

Freaky to Fairie
Use this pic as your desktop background to attract Fairies.

Mushroom - desktop background

9 Responses

  1. Mary Delle Says:

    Fungi have their own beauty, although most of us are freaked by them, as you say. The ones you’ve chosen on or near the trees are a nice collection.

  2. rainfield Says:

    Your dead man’s fingers stand up like a cobra, but the fun is on the tree ear mushrooms. Maybe there is no difference between these mushrooms and dead woods, they both never listen.

  3. Tatyana Says:

    Hey, it’s not Halloween yet!

  4. Monica the Garden Faerie Says:

    Nature sure comes up with some interesting stuff! c’est chic, the freak!

  5. Joy Says:

    Dear Mr. WiseA**
    Leave it to you to post the “Strange and Unusual” which is so perfect leading up to Halloween : )
    You have made all the “wise cracks” about husbands ears , leaving me almost speechless ? I know .. unbelievable isn’t it ? I’m sure around 2 AM I will think of a great come back comment but no one will be awake to hear it .. tarnation !!
    You have been taking the most exceptional pictures this year .. you give me hope that I will advance some year to your standard too ? Well done !
    PS .. thank you for the desk tops , you are very generous for a shifty cartoon character ? LOL

    Sorry I didn’t hear you. My ears have too much fungus in them.

  6. rosey pollen Says:

    My Dad would love this site! I am sending him your way, he is a freakin mycologist, and digs shrooms.
    I have never seen these fungi on trees look so, well, human-like. Kind of neat and gross, all at once.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog, I wish I could share the blasted snow.

  7. rosey pollen's dad Says:

    I was under the impression that all puffballs were edible but not necessarily good to eat. Great pictures. What camera and lenses do you use?

    rosey pollen’s dad,
    I thought so too until I came across the Pigskin Poison Puffball. But my field guides all say this one is. From what I’ve read Puffballs are now being divided up into puffballs and earthballs. Earthballs have a tough rind and are not ‘meaty’ inside so I guess this is not officially a puffball any longer.

    I’m using a Panasonic point and shoot camera. Lumix DMC-FZ28 with a Licia lens (real glass) 18x zoom. I bought it last year and considered it the best point and shoot on the market at the time. I’m no photographer and this makes up for my lack of camera skills.

  8. AwsmAA Says:

    uhh fairies?!?!

  9. ??? Says:

    Tree-ear mushroom looks so yummy. I remember the good chewing, rolling-up texture of this mushroom at my mouth of my childhood. My family cultivated pyogo mushroom( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiitake ) and a little of tree-ear mushroom.

    Here are some dishes with tree-ear mushrooms:



    And I think you may know this stone-ear mushroom.

    Also, a long-time memory.