Good afternoon team. This week's mushroom is Dacrymyces chrysospermus (or Dacrymyces palmatus), commonly known as the Orange Jelly Spot. This mushroom, found on 1/2/2021 under the large hornbeam (Carpinus) north of mugger's woods in the ramble, is somewhat of an oddity. D. chrysospermus grows on aged conifer wood but this mushroom was found on the ground detached from whatever substrate it grew on. There aren't any notably large conifers in the area but woodchips from various origins are routinely piled and distributed nearby. It's within reason that it could've grown from conifer woodchips or was brought to this location by an animal or human.
D. chrysospermus fruits spring through late fall and is saprobic - consumes dead organic material - on conifers. It's found across North America and Europe. It is similar in appearance to the more common Tremella mesenterica (witch's butter) which was featured in December, but the narrow, white point of attachment on D. chrysospermus - seen in the second picture - is a distinguishing characteristic. Consumption of D. chrysospermus has been said to be beneficial for lung ailments but no scientific research has been conducted regarding the claim, nor on the medicinal benefits of the mushroom at all. This one is a bit of a mystery as I haven't seen it anywhere else in the ramble so keep your eyes peeled next time you're in the pinetum or near any other conifer stands.
Have a terrific week,
PS: A coniferous tree is a tree that retains its leaves year-round like a pine or a hemlock whereas a deciduous tree is one that sheds its leaves in the winter - like an oak or an elm. There are other differences but that's a simple way to differentiate and identify the two.