Hirneola auricula-judae (xndr).jpg
Auricularia auricula-judae
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Auriculariales
Family: Auriculariaceae
Genus: Auricularia
Bull. (1780)
Type species
Auricularia mesenterica
(Dicks.) Pers. (1822)

over 30

  • Patila Adans. (1763)
  • Conchites Paulet (1791)
  • Agarico-gelicidium Paulet (1793)
  • Zonaria Roussel (1806)
  • Laschia Fr. (1830)
  • Oncomyces Klotzsch (1843)
  • Hirneola Fr. (1848)
  • Laschia subgen. Auriculariella Sacc. (1888)
  • Seismosarca Cooke (1889)
  • Auricula Battarra ex Kuntze (1891)
  • Auriculariella Clem. (1909)

Auricularia is a genus of fungi in the family Auriculariaceae. Basidiocarps (fruit bodies) are typically gelatinous and ear-shaped, with a slightly downy to conspicuously hirsute upper surface and an under surface that is smooth, wrinkled or veined. All species grow on wood. Several Auricularia species are edible and commercially cultivated on a large scale in China and East Asia.


The genus was first introduced in 1780 by French mycologist Pierre Bulliard for a range of different fungi producing fruit bodies with an ear-like shape. In 1822 Christian Hendrik Persoon restricted the genus to two gelatinous species, Auricularia mesenterica (which became the type species) and A. sambuci (a synonym of Auricularia auricula-judae).[2] In 1848 Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries accepted A. mesenterica within the genus but, on the basis of differences in fruitbody appearance, introduced a new genus, Hirneola, for most other species.[3] This division into two genera was maintained by some authors until at least the 1960s,[4] though American mycologist Bernard Lowy's monograph of the genus had accepted Hirneola as a synonym of Auricularia in 1952 .[5]

Molecular research, based on cladistic analysis of DNA sequences, has shown that Auricularia (including Hirneola) forms a natural, monophyletic grouping. It has also shown that many species are more restricted in distribution than previously thought, resulting in the description of additional new taxa.[6][7][8]


All species of Auricularia form thin, brownish, rubbery-gelatinous fruit bodies that are shelf-like or ear-shaped and up to 120 mm (4.7 in) across and 5 mm (0.20 in) thick. The fruitbodies occur singly or in clusters. The upper surface is finely pilose to densely hirsute. The spore-bearing underside is smooth, wrinkled, veined, or reticulate (net-like).[8] Unpigmented white forms are occasionally encountered.[9][10]

Microscopic characters

The spore-producing basidia are tubular, laterally septate, and (in some species) up to 100 µm long. The spores are allantoid (sausage-shaped), and (in some species) up to 22 µm long. Hairs on the upper surface are thick-walled, rounded or acute at the tip, and (in some species) up to 1 cm (0.39 in) long. When sectioned, some species show a central, medulla layer of parallel hyphae, others lack such a layer.[8]

Habitat, ecology and distribution

All species grow on wood and are saprotrophic wood-rotters, producing a white rot.[11] Most occur on dead wood, but they can also be weakly parasitic on living wood. The majority of species grow on broadleaf trees and shrubs, but a few grow on conifers. Fruit bodies occur singly, in clusters, or in tiers.[5][8]

The genus has a global distribution, with some species confined to the tropics, others to north temperate regions, and others to south temperate regions.[5][8]


At least three species are commercially cultivated for food on a large scale in China and East Asia. They include Auricularia heimuer (black wood ear), formerly misdetermined as Auricularia auricula-judae;[12][7] Auricularia cornea (wood ear or cloud ear), also called A. polytricha; and Auricularia villosula.[8]

Other species are eaten locally around the world. A study on the use of fungi by the Bini people of southern Nigeria found that the local inhabitants collected and ate a species similar to A. auricula-judae, but that it was not one of the fungi they used medicinally.[13] Collection of Auricularia species has also been documented in Nepal. However, the Nepalese do not consider them all that good for eating; of the three grades given to edible fungi, they were given the worst.[14] Additional places where Auricularia species have been recorded as locally gathered and consumed include Benin, Chile, Fiji, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, Mozambique, and Poland.[15]

Several species, including the Asian cultivated species and the European A. auricula-judae (jelly ear or jew's ear), have been used in traditional medicine.[16] They have also been investigated for potential pharmaceutical use.[12]


Image Name Type Location Distribution
Auricularia africana Y.C. Dai & F. Wu 2021 Uganda East Africa
Auricularia americana Parmasto & I. Parmasto ex Audet, Boulet & Sirard 207208.jpg
Auricularia americana Parmasto & I. Parmasto ex Audet, Boulet & Sirard 2003 Canada North America, China, Russian Far East
Auricularia angiospermarum Y.C. Dai, F. Wu & D.W. Li 867084.jpg
Auricularia angiospermarum Y.C. Dai, F. Wu & D.W. Li 2015 United States North America
Auricularia asiatica Bandara & K.D. Hyde 2016 Thailand China, Thailand, Indonesia
AURICULARIA AURICULA-JUDAE (Bull. Fr.) Wettstein(=Hirneola a.) (5829721383).jpg
Auricularia auricula-judae (Bull.) Quél. 1886 France Europe
Auricularia australiana Y.C. Dai & F. Wu 2021 Australia Australia
Auricularia brasiliana Y.C. Dai & F. Wu 2015 Brazil Brazil
Auricularia camposii Y.C. Dai & F. Wu 2021 Brazil Brazil
Auricularia cerrina Kout & Wu 2022[17] Czech Republic Czech Republic
Auricularia conferta Y.C. Dai & F. Wu 2021 Australia Australia
Auricularia cornea 32082.jpg
Auricularia cornea Ehrenb. 1820 Hawaii Africa, South Asia, South America, South Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand
Auricularia delicata (Mont. ex Fr.) Henn. 1893 Guinea West Africa
Auricularia eburnea L.J. Li & B. Liu China China
Auricularia eminii Henn. 1893 Congo Africa
Auricularia fibrillifera Kobayasi 1973 Papua New Guinea New Guinea, China, Africa
Auricularia fuscosuccinea (Mont.) Henn 338544.jpg
Auricularia fuscosuccinea (Mont.) Henn. 1893 Cuba South America, Caribbean, Florida
Auricularia hainanensis L.J. Li 1987 China China
Wood ear mushroom harvest 2.jpg
Auricularia heimuer F. Wu, B.K. Cui & Y.C. Dai 2014 China China, Russian Far East, Japan, Korea
Auricularia lateralis Y.C. Dai & F. Wu 2021 China China
Auricularia mesenterica, Tripe Fungus, UK.JPG
Auricularia mesenterica (Dicks.) Pers. 1822 England Europe, Uzbekistan
Auricularia minor Kobayasi 1981 Taiwan Taiwan
Auricularia minutissima Y.C. Dai, F. Wu & Malysheva 604519.jpg
Auricularia minutissima Y.C. Dai, F. Wu & Malysheva 2015 China China, Russian Far East
2007-12-07 Auricularia polytricha (Mont.) Sacc 9174.jpg
Auricularia nigricans (Sw.) Birkebak, Looney & Sánchez-García 2013 Cuba South and Central America, Florida, Caribbean
Auricularia novozealandica Y.C. Dai & F. Wu 2021 New Zealand New Zealand
Auricularia orientalis Y.C. Dai & F. Wu 2015 China China
Auricularia papyracea Yasuda 1918 Japan Japan
Auricularia pilosa Y.C. Dai, L.W. Zhou & F. Wu 2021 Ethiopia East Africa
Auricularia pusio Berk. 1881 Australia Australia, East Africa
Auricularia scissa Looney, Birkebak & Matheny 2013 Dominican Republic Caribbean, Florida
Auricularia sinodelicata Y.C. Dai & F. Wu 2021 China China
Auricularia srilankensis Y.C. Dai & F. Wu 2021 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
2013-10-18 Auricularia subglabra Looney, Birkebak, & Matheny 402320.jpg
Auricularia subglabra Looney, Birkebak & Matheny 2013 Costa Rica Central and South America
Auricularia submesenterica Y.C. Dai & F. Wu 2021 China China
Auricularia thailandica Bandara & K.D. Hyde 2015 Thailand China, Thailand
Auricularia tibetica Y.C. Dai & F. Wu 2015 Tibet China, Tibet
Auricularia delicata 57753877.jpg
Auricularia tremellosa (Fr.) Pat. 1887 Mexico Central and South America
Auricularia villosula Malysheva 2014 Russian Far East China, Russian Far East
Auricularia xishaensis L.J. Li 1985 China China


  1. ^ "Auricularia Bull. ex Juss. 1789". MycoBank. International Mycological Association. Retrieved 2010-07-22.
  2. ^ Persoon CH (1822). Mycologia europaea 1.
  3. ^ Fries EM (1848). "Fungi Natalenses". K. svenska Vetensk-Akad. Handl., ser. 3: 144.
  4. ^ Donk MA (1966). "Check list of European Hymenomycetous Heterobasidiae". Persoonia. 4 (2): 145–244.
  5. ^ a b c Lowy, Bernard (1952). "The genus Auricularia". Mycologia. 44 (5): 656–92. doi:10.1080/00275514.1952.12024226. ISSN 0027-5514. JSTOR 4547639.
  6. ^ Looney, B. (2013). "Systematics of the genus Auricularia with an emphasis on species from the southeastern United States". North American Fungi. doi:10.2509/naf2013.008.006. ISSN 1937-786X.
  7. ^ a b Wu, Fang; Yuan, Yuan; He, Shuang-Hui; Bandara, Asanka R.; Hyde, Kevin D.; Malysheva, Vera F.; Li, De-Wei; Dai, Yu-Cheng (October 2015). "Global diversity and taxonomy of the Auricularia auricula-judae complex (Auriculariales, Basidiomycota)". Mycological Progress. 14 (10): 95. doi:10.1007/s11557-015-1113-4. S2CID 16991202.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Wu, Fang; Yuan, Yuan; Malysheva, Vera F.; Du, Ping; Dai, Yu Cheng (4 December 2014). "Species clarification of the most important and cultivated Auricularia mushroom "Heimuer": evidence from morphological and molecular data". Phytotaxa. 186 (5): 241. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.186.5.1.
  9. ^ Reid DA (1970). "New or interesting records of British hymenomycetes, IV". Transactions of the British Mycological Society. 55 (3): 413–441.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  10. ^ Bandara AR, Mortimer PE, VadthanaratS, Xingrong P, Karunarathna SC, Hyde KD, Kakumyan P, Xu J (2020). "First successful domestication of a white strain of Auricularia cornea from Thailand". Studies in Fungi. 5 (1): 420–434. doi:10.5943/sif/5/1/23.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  11. ^ Worrall, James J.; Anagnost, Susan E.; Zabel, Robert A. (1997). "Comparison of wood decay among diverse lignicolous fungi". Mycologia. 89 (2): 199–219. doi:10.2307/3761073. JSTOR 3761073.
  12. ^ a b Wu F, Yuan Y, Malysheva VF, Du P, Dai Y (2014). "Species clarification of the most important and cultivated Auricularia mushroom "Heimuer": evidence from morphological and molecular data". Phytotaxa. 186 (5): 241–253. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.186.5.1.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ Akpaja, Emmanuel Oluwadare; Okhuoya, John Aroye; Ehwerheferere, Benedicta Akpos (2003). "Ethnomycology and indigenous uses of mushrooms among the Bini-speaking people of Nigeria: A case study of Aihuobabekun community near Benin City, Nigeria". International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 7 (3): 373–4. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushr.v7.i3.270.
  14. ^ Adhikari, M. K.; Devkota, S.; Tiwari, R. D. (2005). "Ethnomycological knowledge on uses of wild mushrooms in western and central Nepal". Our Nature. 3 (1): 13–9. doi:10.3126/on.v3i1.329.
  15. ^ Boa, Eric (2004). Wild Edible Fungi: A Global Overview of their Use and Importance to People. Food and Agriculture Organisation. ISBN 978-92-5-105157-3.
  16. ^ Allen, David E.; Hatfield, Gabrielle (2004). Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition: An Ethnobotany of Britain & Ireland. Timber Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-88192-638-5.((cite book)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  17. ^ Kout, Jiří; Wu, Fang (March 2022). "Revealing the Cryptic Diversity of Wood-Inhabiting Auricularia (Auriculariales, Basidiomycota) in Europe". Forests. 13 (4): 532. doi:10.3390/f13040532. ISSN 1999-4907.