Good morning team. Last Mushroom Monday of the calendar year 2020. Let's sprint through the proverbial finish line. This week's mushroom is a Wood Ear Fungi from the genus Auricularia. We can't identify the species without sequencing that sweet sweet DNA, but if you're curious I implore you to poke around and see if you can do some more research to narrow it down (perhaps A. americana). This is our third week in a row with a jelly fungus and, like the Exidia from two weeks ago, this jelly fungus is also in the family Auriculariaceae.
This Auricularia was found on 12/1/2020 in the western part of the tupelo meadow landscape growing out of elm. Auricularia are saprobic and feed on dead wood. The genus is widely distributed across the six livable continents, typically fruiting in the fall and spring, but they tend to remain visible year-round. In China, A. polytricha is commonly consumed and used for its medicinal purposes; ranging from its high antioxidant content and heart/liver benefits to its anticoagulant effect that makes it a natural aspirin. Some of these medicinal properties have yet to be confirmed by scientific research but I believe in them.
Have a relaxing last week of the calendar year,