Leafy Brain

(Phaeotremella foliacea)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

Leafy Brain

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common and widespread

Season

Fall

Habitat/Hosts

Stereum fungi

 

 

    Photo by Kirk Nelson
 
Identification

Leafy Brain is a common and widespread fungus. It occurs in Europe, Australia, Japan, Central America, and North America. In the United States it is most common in the eastern half and on the West Coast. It is less common in Minnesota where it is at the western extent of its range. It is found alone or scattered in deciduous and mixed woodlands on stumps, logs, fallen branches, and dead attached branches of hardwoods, occasionally also on conifers. It is parasitic on bracket fungi in the genus Stereum, including False Turkey Tail, Hairy Curtain Crust, and Crowded Parchment. It grows on the hidden basal threads (hyphae) of the fungus.

The fruiting body is a 1½ to 8 (4 to 20 cm) long, ¾ to 2¾ (2 to 7 cm) high, loosely packed mass of wavy or leaf-like lobes. It appears seaweed-like, never cup-like or ear-like. Individual lobes are ¾ to 2 (2 to 5 cm) wide, and 132 to 116 (1 to 2 mm) thick. They are usually light to dark brown, sometimes purplish-brown or reddish-brown. They are gelatinous and pliable when fresh, hard when dry. The surface is hairless and smooth, becoming wrinkled toward the base. There is no stalk. The spore print is white. The flesh is edible but watery and tasteless.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 4, 24, 26, 29, 30.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Division:

Basidiomycota (club fungi)

 

Subdivision:

Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)

 

Class:

Tremellomycetes

 

Order:

Tremellales (jelly fungi)

 

Order:

Tremellales

 

Family:

Phaeotremellaceae

 

Genus:

Phaeotremella

 

According to MushroomExpert.com, fungal species associated with hardwoods in North America should be called frondosa, those with conifers foliacea. Therefore, the correct scientific name for this species should be Phaeotremella frondosa. However, most authoritative sources continue to use the name Phaeotremella foliacea.

 
Synonyms

Phaeotremella frondosa

Tremella foliacea

 
Common
Names

Brown Witch’s Butter

Jelly Leaf

Leafy Brain

Leafy Jelly Fungus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Hypha

A thread-like cell of a fungus that is the main mode of vegetative growth: the basic structural unit of a multicellular fungus. Plural: hyphae. Collectively, the hyphae of a fungus is the mycelium.

 

Parasitic

Obtaining nutrients from another living organism.

       
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Kirk Nelson
       
  Leafy Brain    
       
       
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Kirk Nelson
8/23/2020

Location: Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Leafy Brain


         
         
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Created: 9/19/2020

Last Updated:

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