The fruit body of Tremella mesenterica possesses an irregular shape, which forms on the bark of dead branches of trees. It is usually 7.5 cm broad and 2.5 to 5 cm high in dimensions. The fruit body is similar to gelatine, which becomes tough when wet and hard when dry. Generally, the outer surface is smooth, the lobes translucent, deep yellow or bright yellow-orange and fading to pale yellow, rarely unpigmented and white or colorless in appearance. It turns dark reddish or orange when drying. The sporocarp is pustular when young and foliose when mature.
Common names: Yellow brain, the golden jelly fungus, the yellow trembler and Witches’ butter (English), Hed hing see luang neur kai (Thailand and Laos).
Uses: Tremella mesenterica is an edible mushroom, although it’s flavourless. The gelatinous to rubbery consistency guides the pathway to soup bowls. Laboratory tests have associated a number of biological activities with T. mesenterica glucuronoxylomannan, including immunostimulatory, protecting against radiation, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, hypocholestero-lemic, hepatoprotective, and antiallergic effects.
Time of fruiting: This mushroom commonly fruits in the middle of the rainy season in Thailand, Laos and the tropical part of China (June and July).
Habitat: The fruit bodies develop during wet periods throughout the year including spring, summer, fall and winter. It prefers to grow in habitats in the mesic to wet range. It is parasitic and grows on the wood-rotting corticoid fungi in the genus Peniophora.
Distribution: is widely distributed in Europe, North, Central, and South America, Africa, Australia and Asia.
Fig. 1 The basidiomata of Tremella mesenterica in the field.
Mortimer P. E., Xu J., Karunarathna S. C. & Hyde K. D. 2014– Mushrooms for trees and people: a field guide to useful mushrooms of the Mekong region. Kunming: The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).