Keep your eyes open when you’re walking in the woods, mushroom season is upon us! Jocie and I found this fantastic jelly fungus growing on a fallen Douglas Fir while walking the Karst Creek Trail in Strathcona Provincial Park today.
Commonly called Orange Jelly (Dacrymyces palmatus) and often mistaken as Witch’s Butter (Tremella lutescens), this delightful, bright orange jelly fungus is a perfect sighting for Hallowe’en. Orange Jelly usually appears late in the fall and can be found on wood, favouring softwood over the hardwood that the yellow Witch’s Butter prefers.
Orange jelly dissolves into a wet, formless mass as it gets older whereas Witch’s Butter becomes hard and leathery. It also changes from yellow to a dull red/orange. To see a great photograph of Witch’s Butter in its dried out state check out Dutch Baby’s post Lichen and Witch’s Butter.
According to both Mushrooms Demystified (David Arora) and The New Savory Wild Mushroom (Margaret McKenny and Daniel E. Stuntz) Orange Jelly is edible but apparently flavourless and not worth eating. They “melt” when cooked so must be eaten raw, pickled or marinated.
As with any wild plant or mushroom it is important to know exactly what you’ve harvested before you eat it. Remember, any mushroom is edible – once!