The Fungus Among Us

Exidia plana, Denmark

Have you seen this gooey, gel-like fungus on your hikes? It turns out, it is a jelly fungi called Exidia plana.

Jelly fungi are often parasitic and their gooey bodies serve an important function. Deep inside the gelatinous fruiting body, there are “strange” basidia shaped like tuning forks or possessing transverse or longitudinal cell walls. Because they are hidden away this way, they are highly resistant to drought. Although I picked this globular example, there is actually quite a bit of variety among jelly fungi and they can mimic the shapes of tooth fungi, coral fungi and club fungi.

Learn more with The Kingdom of Fungi by Jens H. Petersen: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9969.html