Fungi Key – Auricularia


This is a trial key for Queensland Auricularia.
QMS would greatly appreciate your feedback:

Is it an Auricularia?

The fruiting bodies of Auricularia are:

  • fleshy, tough, gelatinous to cartilaginous, ear- or cup- or bracket-shaped;
  • hymenium (lower surface) is usually somewhat translucent, and greyish or
  • laterally or dorsally attached to wood;
  • solitary or more usually in groups;
  • tomentose, the upper surface is generally hairy;
  • smooth, lobed, veined or reticulate on their lower surface (hymenium);
  • white-spored with cylindrical or allantoid spores; and
  • the basidia are cylindrical with three transverse septa.

If the jelly fungus you have found meets all (or most) of the above criteria, then it is
almost certainly an Auricularia. If you collect it, try to record these characters on the label
that you submit with your specimen to the Herbarium.

Species recorded in Queensland

Recently published research by Wu et al. (2021) []
suggests that at least three of the Auricularia species names currently used in Australia
are incorrect (A. auricula-judae, A. delicata and A. mesenterica), and that the species we
have in Queensland are not the same as those in the northern hemisphere. There would
appear to be several further species that are not yet described; more collections, with
detailed descriptions, photographs and DNA sequences, are needed.

At least six names appear in the available literature about Auricularia in Queensland, but
only four species are supported by material deposited in the Herbarium at Mt Coot-tha.
They are:

  • Auricularia auricula-judae (the Queensland species now renamed to Auricularia
    aff fibrillifera): there are over 60 confirmed records for this species in
    Queensland. American and some older European publications use the synonym
    Auricularia auricula for this species.
  • Auricularia cornea: the most commonly collected and seen species, with over 200
    records, many recorded under its synonym of Auricularia polytricha.
  • Auricularia delicata (now Auricularia australiana): another common species with
    almost 100 confirmed records.
  • Auricularia mesenterica (now Auricularia pusio): the least-known species with
    over 30 confirmed records, two under the synonym of Auricularia lobata
Here is a revised draft key.
Draft Key to Auricularia in Queensland
1. Lower surface (hymenium) smooth or with very few veins or folds 2
1.* Lower surface (hymenium) lobed or reticulate like tripe 3
2. Upper surface mouse grey to whitish and densely hairy Auricularia cornea
2.* Upper surface reddish brown and finely hairy Auricularia aff fibrillifera
3. Upper surface finely hairy and concentrically zoned, lower surface lobed and greyish Auricularia pusio
3.* Upper surface azonate and pale pink to reddish-brown, lower surface with pale radial ridges which criss-cross to form a reticulum. Auricularia australiana

Pat Leonard