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Who needs 3-D printers to produce replacement human body parts when you could use a fungus instead? Not exactly a practical solution to gaining a new ear I admit but, you have to agree, this fungus is definitely the right shape, if not the ideal colour or texture.

Auricularia auricula-judae Jelly Ear

The Jelly ear (Latin name Auricularia auricular-judae) can be rather gelatinous, hence its common name. It is a very common and easily recognisable fungus that grows on standing and fallen dead broadleaf trees, in parks and gardens and forest areas. It can reach up to 100mm across, though its shape becomes more contorted and undulating as it ages. In my native New Zealand, the Jelly ear was of considerable economic importance around the turn of the 20th century when large quantities were exported to China for food.

Auricularia auricula-judae Jelly Ear (1)

Jelly ears can often be found growing on the elder tree and it seems the fungus got its original common name of Judas’s Ear from the belief that Judas Iscariot hung himself from an elder tree. Over time, the epithet Judas’s Ear changed to Jew’s Ear, though in these days of political correctness, that epithet is rarely used.

Auricularia auricula-judae Jelly Ear (4)

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