Aleuria aurantia is known as the orange peel fungus and is a cup fungi. This bright orange fungus has a brittle fruiting body consisting of several folds that look like several small cups, hence the name. A. aurantia is small, growing up to 4".The underside is felt-looking and white. A. aurantia is stalk-less and often grows in clusters as on dead wood.
A. aurantia is found throughout North America and a few other countries. It is very common, especially from summer to fall.
A. aurantia (above) has an orange fruiting body with cup-like folds. Microscopically, the spores are big, hyaline, and have spiny projections. They range from 17-24 × 9-11 micrometers. As part of the Discomycetes, the spores start out encased in an ascus in a half-circular, disc-shaped apothecium. A. aurantia also has small sterile hyphal structures called paraphyses inside the apothecia which appear to have rounded ends.
Aleuria aurantia closely resembles Otidea onotica and Sowerbyella rhenana and can be distinguished by them macroscopically and microscopically.
Macroscopically, A. aurantia has a brighter, richer orange color than O. onotica and S. rhenana which are more of a pale orange or dark yellow-orange. Microscopically, the spores of O. onotica are much smaller and do not have projections which A. aurantia does. In addition, S. rhenana has a stalk and A. aurantia is stalk-less.
Otidea onotica (above) is also a saprobic cup fungi. It can be distinguished from A. aurantia because of it’s lighter, duller color and because O. onotica has much smaller spores with no projections on them.
Sowerbyella rhenana (below) is also a similar looking saprobic cup fungi. However, just by noting that S. rhenana has a stem and A. aurantia does not, they can be distinguished from one another.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
The main use for A. aurantia is not directly for people. It thrives off of dead matter and is able to recycle nutrients back into the environment which helps animals, plants, and people.
A. aurantia is an edible mushroom, as it does not secrete any posionous toxins that would kill anyone who ate it. However, it is not often eaten due its close resemblance to Otidea onotica. Some species of Otidea are orange in color and produce very harmful human toxins.
|no distinct cap|
|hymenium attachment is irregular or not applicable|
|lacks a stipe|
|spore print is white|
|ecology is saprotrophic|
The Orange Peel Fungus (Aleuria aurantia) is a widespread ascomycete fungus in the order Pezizales. The brilliant orange, cup-shaped ascocarps often resemble orange peels strewn on the ground, giving this species its common name.
In Europe, the orange peel may be confused with species of Otidea or Caloscypha which are poisonous or of unknown edibility. The North American Audubon Mushroom Field Guide lists orange peel fungi as edible, though not necessarily choice, with no particularly notable continental lookalikes.
Distribution and habitat
The orange peel fungus grows on bare clay or disturbed soil throughout North America and Europe. Aleuria aurantia fruits mainly in late summer and autumn.
- Nilsson, S. & Persson, O. 1977. Fungi of Northern Europe 1: Larger Fungi (Excluding Gill Fungi). Penguin Books.
- Yao, Y.-J., and B. M. Spooner. 1995. Notes on British taxa referred to Aleuria. Mycological Research 99:1515-1518.
- Seaver, F. J. 1914. North American species of Aleuria and Aleurina. Mycologia 6:273-278.
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