E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Tremella mesenterica Retz.: Fr.
witch's butter

Species account author: Ian Gibson.
Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #69059)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Tremella mesenterica
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Species Information

Features include yellow convoluted jelly-like fruiting body, and growth on hardwood sticks and logs. Tremella mesenterica is edible, and is sometimes added to soups, (Lincoff). It is widespread and common, (Arora). Distribution includes BC, WA, OR, ID, and also AB, MB, NF, NS, ON, PQ, YT, AZ, CA, CO, GA, IA, LA, MA, MI, NC, NY, OH, and WI, (Ginns), Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, (Breitenbach), widespread in Soviet Union (Raitviir), and BC, CA, Sweden, Germany, and Switzerland, (Wong).
Fruiting body:
1-10cm, flabby or gelatinous when fresh, when old or wet "often bloblike or amorphous", drying bone hard; "clear yellow to golden-yellow to bright orange, paler (to nearly colorless) when old or waterlogged"; no stem, (Arora), 2-5(10)cm x 2-4cm, brain-lik
spores 7-18 x 6-14 microns, elliptic to nearly round, smooth; basidia longitudinally septate, (Arora), 10-16 x 7-8 microns, oval, smooth, inamyloid, colorless, also conidia 3-4.5 x 2.5-3.5 microns, subglobose-oval, smooth, colorless; hypobasidia 20-25 x 12-17 microns, oval-clavate, longitudinally septate, with 4 epibasidia; hyphae 1.5-3 microns wide, sparsely septate, with clamp connections, gelatinized, (Breitenbach), spores form on outer surfaces, spore deposit yellowish, (Lincoff), spores (9.5)10.5-16 x (7.5)8.5-10.5(11.5) microns, broadly elliptic, obovate, or nearly round, developing asynchronously, germination by budding, by repetition, or by conjugation tubes; epibasidia cylindric, 2-3.5 microns wide, enlarging apically up to 5-8.5 microns, length variable, up to 120 microns; probasidia (19)20-24(25) x (14.5)15.5-20(21) microns, initially subcylindric, narrow clavate to obovate, or fusiform, then becoming broadly elliptic, obovate to nearly spherical, longitudinally to obliquely septate, white to yellow, with basal clamp connection; hymenium consisting only of conidia, of both conidia and basidia, or only of basidia, basidia forming under conidial layer if conidia present; conidia 3-5 x 2-3 microns, elliptic, broadly elliptic to nearly round, light yellow to orange, evidently subtended by clamp connection, borne on light yellow to orange, branching, septate conidiophores; dikaryophyses absent; internal hyphae 2-3 microns wide, loosely interwoven, smooth, clamp connections present throughout, (Wong), conidial state is often borne in cool periods in fall, winter, and spring, (Bandoni), spores in Costa Rica specimens have smaller spores (e.g. 11-13.5 x 8-10 microns, 9-12.5 x 7.5-8 microns), than many Swedish collections (e.g. 13-15 x 9-10 microns)

Habitat / Range

solitary or in groups on hardwoods sticks, logs, etc., (Arora), "associated with Peniophora aurantiaca, P. cinerea-like species, and P. incarnata, but typically reported as lignicolous on angiosperms and gymnosperms", apparently mycoparasitic, (Ginns), single, on dead wood of hardwoods, mostly branches and trunks lying on the ground, (Breitenbach), on hardwood, especially dead attached branches, less often on fallen trees or branches, rarely reported on conifer wood, usually associated with fruitbodies of other Basidiomycetes, especially Peniophora spp., (Wong), spring to fall (Bacon)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Tremella lutescens Pers.: Fr.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Wong(1), Arora(1)*, Breitenbach(2)*, Lincoff(1)*, Miller(14)*, Ginns(5), Bandoni(5), Courtecuisse(1)*, Raitviir(1), AroraPocket*, Bacon(1)*

References for the fungi

General References