Witch’s Butter

Yellow brain, Golden jelly fungus, Trembling jelly fungus

Tremella mesenterica

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Witch’s Butter is a visually arresting jelly fungus, known for its bright orange, gelatinous appearance. It typically grows in clusters on dead or decaying wood, providing a stark contrast to its usually drab background.

Witch’s Butter

Common Name
Witch’s Butter

Other Names

Yellow brain, Golden jelly fungus, Trembling jelly fungus

Latin Name

Tremella mesenterica


Witch’s Butter can be found across North America, Europe, and Asia.


The fungus is gelatinous in consistency with a bright yellow to orange color. Its lobed, irregularly folded or brain-like appearance is unmistakable, and when wet, it’s particularly slimy and pliable.


Witch’s Butter typically spans 3-7.5 cm across.


This fungus prefers to grow on dead or decaying hardwoods, especially oaks and beeches.


Witch’s Butter is saprobic, feeding off decaying wood, but it also acts as a parasite on other fungi, especially crust fungi.


Like other fungi, it reproduces through spores. Its spores are produced in tiny, flask-shaped structures called asci. When mature, these asci release spores that are carried by the wind to new locations.

Defense Mechanisms

Its bright coloration might serve as a warning or deterrent to potential predators, suggesting that it’s not palatable or may be toxic. Additionally, its gelatinous texture might be unappealing to many animals.

Ecological Importance

By breaking down dead and decaying wood, Witch’s Butter plays a role in nutrient cycling within the ecosystem, helping to return essential nutrients to the soil.

Conservation Status

It is generally considered common in its habitats.
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