T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Tremella mesenterica (Witches butter)

Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Subdivision: Agaricomycotina
Class: Tremellomycetes
Order: Tremellales
Family: Tremellaceae
Genus: Tremella
Species: T. mesenterica
Binomial name: Tremella mesenterica
Synonyms: Helvella mesenterica, Tremella lutescens, Tremella quercina, Exidia candida, Tremella albida, Tremella candida, Hormomyces aurantiacus
Common names: Witches butter, Yellow brain fungus, Golden jelly fungus, Yellow trembler,

Tremella mesenterica is a common jelly fungus found on dead branches. It is a species which is parasitic on the mycelium of species of Peniophora which are a wood decay fungi (resupinate crust fungi). Tremella mesenterica occurs in deciduous and mixed forests and it has cosmopolitan distribution throughout temperate and tropical regions. It is present in New Zealand.
The fruit body is a gelatinous, golden yellow and of an irregular shape. It has a surface that is greasy or slimy when damp. It grows in crevices of the bark of dead branches and appears during rain. In dry conditions it dries into a thin orange film or shrivelled mass which is capable of reviving after subsequent rain. It can grow up to 7.5 cm broad and 2.5 to 5.0 cm high.