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Amber Jelly Mushroom
Exidia recisa

The clam of the woods?

Also known as the Amber Jelly Roll



Color: amber to orange brown

Height: flat

Cap diameter: up to 3 cm

Spore print: white

Edibility: Edible

What's in a  [common] name?

The name amber jelly mushroom, or amber jelly roll, comes from its amber-like color and gelatinous structure. It belongs to the fungal family, Auriculariaceae, which is derived from the Latin word for “ear” or “ear lobe.” Species in the genus, Exidia, used to belong to the genus, Tremella, but have been separated out.

Description and Ecology

Amber jellies are smooth capped, gelatinous fungi and grow to not more than an inch in diameter. They often grow in clusters and hang pendulously in the air from a growing point. Amber jellies are saprophytic fungi, meaning they grow on dead or decaying wood tissue. They are often found on willow, poplar, alder, or Prunus species. They can be found desiccated or frozen and are easily rehydrated. This fall and winter fruiting species can be found across North America, Europe, and Northern Asia.

Science and Medicine

Unfortunately, a scientific literature search for Exidia recisa turned up pretty empty. Some species in the genus, Exidia, have shown antibacterial activity, but not much else is known about the genus (Atiphasaworn et al. 2017).

Culinary Uses

I have personally used them as a clam substitute for chowder after finding a frozen harvest. I rehydrated them in cold water by letting them sit for a minute and then straining and repeating this process three times until the rinse water was clear. Amber jellies have a clam like texture which makes it a great substitute for clam chowder. Their flavor is very mild.

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