Drugs from witches’ butter

Spotted some globular orange fungus growing on a dead, but still attached, branch of a tree in our local woodland. I asked friends if they could identify it, one (Alan Cann) suggested it was yellow brain, but there are two types and he’d need a micrograph to ID it definitively.

Tremella mesenterica (yellow brain, golden jelly fungus, yellow trembler, and witches’ butter is a common jelly fungus). Closely resembles Tremella aurantia (golden ear). T. mesenterica but has basidia which are stalked instead of sessile (this would be the bit you’d need the microscope for) and it parasitizes the mycelium of Stereum hirsutum rather than Peniophora.

Anyway, lots of research into carbohydrates produced by the fungi with biological activity and potential to treat diabetes and perhaps even immune system problems. More information on that here and elsewhere in the scientific literature. Oh, by the way, top left in the photo, tail of modern Canis familiaris.

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