The Elder jellies

I’m tramping through scrub on a path used by dog walkers and alienated teenagers. It’s only rubbish which catches my eyes and ears, with horribly loud crunching plastic bottles under the leaves and bright metallic cans discarded in the bushes. That is, until I spot this. It’s a Jelly Ear fungus.

Jelly Ear Fungus - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s a fungus I spotted as a child and photographed for my nature notebooks:

It’s on a broken branch so I turn it over. It’s probably a piece of Elder, as Jelly Ear, Auricularia auricula-judae, does sometimes like a nice piece of Elder and that’s what’s growing here in profusion, next to the disused railway.

Underneath is a perfect wrinkled ear shape. It’s from here that it ejects several hundred thousand spores an hour.

Jelly Ear Fungus - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I’d better turn it back over and leave it to reproduce in peace. I’ll do it quietly. The woods have ears.

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