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WITCHES BUTTER FUNGUS : Tremella mesenterica

Also known as : yellow brain, golden jelly fungus, yellow trembler.

These various names give you an idea of what it looks like. As with our example, it is usually found on dead wood. But as a parasite of wood decay fungi in the  genus Peniophora, is may be attached and recently fallen branches, especially of angiosperms, as a parasite of wood decay fungi in the genus Peniophora [Wiki].

The gelatinous, orange-yellow fruit body of the fungus, which can grow up to 7.5 cm (3.0 in) diameter, has a convoluted or lobed surface that is greasy or slimy when damp. It grows in crevices in bark, appearing during rainy weather. Within a few days after rain it dries into a thin film or shriveled mass capable of reviving after subsequent rain. [Wiki]. 

The Woodland Trust tells us that according to European legend, if yellow brain fungus appeared on the gate or door of a house it meant that a witch had cast a spell on the family living there. The only way the spell could be removed was by piercing the fungus several times with straight pins until it went away. This is why yellow brain also has the common name of 'witches’ butter'. In Sweden, yellow brain fungus was burnt to protect against evil spirits.

It is flavourless, but Chinese cooks use it to give their soups consistency. This fungus produces certain biological compounds that are of interest to medicine. Compounds produced by the fungus have shown anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties.

Witches Butter growing in Fishers Wood in January.

WIKIPEDIA : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tremella_mesenterica#:~:text=Tremella%20mesenterica%20%28common%20names%20include%20yellow%20brain%2C%20golden,fungus%20in%20the%20family%20Tremellaceae%20of%20the%20Agaricomycotina.

WOODLAND TRUST : https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/fungi-and-lichens/yellow-brain/

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