Cloud ear fungus
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|Cloud ear fungus|
|Cloud ear fungus|
|no distinct cap|
|hymenium attachment is irregular or not applicable|
|lacks a stipe|
|spore print is white|
|ecology is saprotrophic|
It is known as Mandarin Chinese: 云耳; pinyin: yún'ěr, lit. "cloud ear"), Chinese: 毛木耳; pinyin: máomù'ěr, lit. "hairy wood ear"), or 木耳 (pinyin: mù'ěr, lit. "wood ear" or "tree ear"), and in Japanese it is called arage kikurage (キクラゲ, lit. "tree jellyfish"). It is also known as black fungus, black Chinese fungus (or mushroom), wood ear fungus, wood fungus, ear fungus, or tree ear fungus, an allusion to its rubbery ear-shaped growth. In Europe, it is frequently confused as "Jew's ear", and "Jelly ear", albeit they are very closely related. In Hawaii, they are known as pepeiao which means ear. In Southeast Asia, it is known as bok née in local English (from the Hokkien 木耳 bo̍k-ní) and is used in the salad kerabu bok nee. In the Philippines, the locals call it tenga ng daga, meaning "rat's ear" due to its appearance.
The fungus grows in frilly masses on dead wood. It is a dark brown color but somewhat translucent.
It is usually sold dried and needs to be soaked before use. While almost tasteless, it is prized for its slightly crunchy texture and potential medicinal properties, including its newly discovered anticoagulant properties. Of note, the slight crunchiness persists despite most cooking processes.
It may be effective in reducing LDL cholesterol and aortic atherosclerotic plaque, as demonstrated in a study on rabbits.
Related fungi 
- Auricularia auricula-judae, the Jew's Ear, a closely related species, is also used in Asian cuisine and has been suggested as an acceptable culinary alternative to Cloud Ear fungus.
- Snow fungus, Tremella fuciformis, another edible fungus which is superficially similar in appearance, and has similar culinary and medicinal uses, but is actually a parasitic species in another class of fungi.
- Elizabeth Speith. "Auricularia polytricha (Auriculariaceae) - HEAR species info". Hear.org. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
- Fan, YM; Xu, MY; Wang, LY; Zhang, Y; Zhang, L; Yang, H; Wang, P; Cui, P (1989). "The effect of edible black tree fungus (Auricuaria auricula) on experimental atherosclerosis in rabbits". Chinese medical journal 102 (2): 100–5. PMID 2505974.
- [full citation needed]
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