Life in Newburgh on Ythan

By Talpa

A touch of fungal colour

These are jelly ears, the fruiting bodies of Auricularia auricula-judae a fungus that makes its living by breaking down dead wood. 
The common name, Jelly ears, is a rather recent invention. In the politically less sensitive past they were known as Jews' ears, the clue being in the scientific name; auricula being the Latin word for ear and judae  referring to Judas, the Jew who it is said to have betrayed Jesus. The association with Judas Iscariot comes from its habit of growing on dead elder trees Sambucus nigra, the tree on which Judas is traditionally thought to have hung himself. Given that the elder is not native to the Palestine region, this story may not be entirely accurate! These specimens are growing in our garden on the  remains of a firethorn that I chopped down 10 years ago!

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