Scientific name: Auricularia auricula-judae
Synonyms: Jew's ear, wood ear, jelly ear, A. Auricularia judae, Auricularia polytricha, Mu-Err
Natural habitat: Mainly on dying or dead broadleaf trees (oak, birch, mulberry, mango, walnut, most common on elder), rare on spruces. It can be found across the world.
Appropriate substrate: Wheat straw, hardwoods (beech, elder, oak, alder)
Usage: Edible mushroom, vital mushroom
Auricularia, in China known as mu-err, has been used in Asian cuisine and medicine for more than 1500 years. Besides vitamins and valuable proteins, Auricularia contains important minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and silicium, which make it a potent vital mushroom.
In Europe, this mushroom has been known for centuries. The 16th-century herbalist John Gerard, writing in 1597, recommended A. Auricula-judae for a very specific use; other fungi were used more generally. He recommends the preparation of a liquid extract by boiling the fruit bodies in milk, or else leaving them steeped in beer, which would then be sipped slowly in order to cure a sore throat (Harding 2008, p. 173).
Spores: 11 - 14 (17.5) x 4 - 6 µ, white in deposit, cylindrical to sausage-shaped