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Tremella fuciformis

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Tremella fuciformis
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Tremellomycetes
Order: Tremellales
Family: Tremellaceae
Genus: Tremella
T. fuciformis
Binomial name
Tremella fuciformis
Berk. (1856)
  • Nakaiomyces nipponicus Kobayasi (1939)
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Smooth hymenium
No distinct cap
Hymenium attachment is not applicable
Lacks a stipe
Spore print is white
Ecology is parasitic
Edibility is choice

Tremella fuciformis is a species of fungus; it produces white, frond-like, gelatinous basidiocarps (fruiting bodies). It is widespread, especially in the tropics, where it can be found on the dead branches of broadleaf trees. This fungus is commercially cultivated and is one of the most popular fungi in the cuisine and medicine of China.[1] T. fuciformis is commonly known as snow fungus, snow ear, silver ear fungus, white jelly mushroom, and white cloud ears.[1]

T. fuciformis is a parasitic yeast, and grows as a slimy, mucus-like film until it encounters its preferred hosts, various species of Annulohypoxylon (or possibly Hypoxylon) fungi, whereupon it then invades, triggering the aggressive mycelial growth required to form the fruiting bodies.[1][2]



Fruit bodies are gelatinous, watery white, up to 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) across (larger in cultivated specimens), and composed of thin but erect, seaweed-like, branching fronds, often crisped at the edges. Microscopically, the hyphae are clamped and occur in a dense gelatinous matrix. Haustorial cells arise on the hyphae, producing filaments that attach to and penetrate the hyphae of the host. The basidia are tremelloid (ellipsoid, with oblique to vertical septa), 10–13 μm × 6.5–10 μm, sometimes stalked. The spores are ellipsoid, smooth, 5–8 μm × 4–6 μm, and germinate by hyphal tube or by yeast cells.[3][4]

Similar species


Ductifera pululahuana is more opaque, as is Sebacina sparassoidea, which grows on the ground.[5]


Eunibeoseot (Korean: 은이버섯, "silver ear mushroom")

Tremella fuciformis was first described in 1856 by English mycologist Miles Joseph Berkeley, based on collections made in Brazil by botanist and explorer Richard Spruce.[6] In 1939, Japanese mycologist Yosio Kobayasi described Nakaiomyces nipponicus, a similar-looking fungus that differed by having scattered, dark spines on its surface. Later research, however, showed that the fruit bodies were those of Tremella fuciformis parasitized by an ascomycete, Ceratocystis epigloeum, that formed the dark spines.[7] Nakaiomyces nipponicus is therefore a synonym of T. fuciformis.

In Mandarin Chinese, it is called 银耳 (pinyin: yín ěr; literally "silver ear"), 雪耳 (pinyin: xuě ěr; literally "snow ear"); or 白木耳 (pinyin: bái mù ěr, literally "white wood ear"), and in Japanese it is called shiro kikurage (シロキクラゲ, lit. "white tree jellyfish"). In Vietnam, it is called nấm tuyết or ngân nhĩ.

According to Paul Stamets, common names for T. fuciformis include: white jelly mushroom, yin er, white jelly fungus, white jelly leaf ("shirokikurage"), silver ear mushroom, snow mushroom, and chrysanthemum mushroom.[1]

Distribution and habitat


Tremella fuciformis is known to be a parasite of Hypoxylon species.[3] Many of these species were reassigned to a new genus, Annulohypoxylon, in 2005[2] including its preferred host, Annulohypoxylon archeri,[1][2] the species routinely used in commercial cultivation. Following its host, fruit bodies are typically found on dead, attached or recently fallen branches of broadleaf trees.

The species is mainly tropical and subtropical, but extends into temperate areas in Asia and North America. It is known throughout South and Central America,[8] the Caribbean,[8] parts of North America,[9] sub-Saharan Africa,[10] southern and eastern Asia,[3] Australia,[11] New Zealand (although this may be an NZ indigenous species),[12] and the Pacific Islands.[13][14]


A drink with Tremella fuciformis and bird's nest

Tremella fuciformis has been cultivated in China since at least the nineteenth century.[15]: 159  Initially, suitable wooden poles were prepared and then treated in various ways in the hope that they would be colonized by the fungus. This haphazard method of cultivation was improved when poles were inoculated with spores or mycelium. Modern production only began, however, with the realization that both the Tremella and its host species needed to be inoculated into the substrate to ensure success. The "dual culture" method, now used commercially, employs a sawdust mix inoculated with both fungal species and kept under optimal conditions.[15]: 327  The most popular species to pair with T. fuciformis is its preferred host, Annulohypoxylon archeri.[1] Estimated production in China in 1997 was 130,000 tonnes. T. fuciformis is also cultivated in other East Asian countries, with some limited cultivation elsewhere.[15]: 327 

In Chinese cuisine, T. fuciformis is traditionally used in sweet dishes. While tasteless, it is valued for its gelatinous texture as well as its supposed medicinal benefits.[15]: 329  Most commonly, it is used to make a dessert soup called luk mei (六味) in Cantonese, often in combination with jujubes, dried longans, and other ingredients. It is also used as a component of a drink and as an ice cream. Since cultivation has made it less expensive, it is now additionally used in some savoury dishes.[15]: 329  In Vietnamese cuisine, it is often used in Chè (Vietnamese pronunciation: [cɛ̂]), a Vietnamese term that refers to any traditional Vietnamese sweet beverage, dessert soup or pudding.



T. fuciformis extract is used in women's beauty products from China, Korea, and Japan. The fungus reportedly increases moisture retention in the skin and prevents senile degradation of micro-blood vessels in the skin, reducing wrinkles and smoothing fine lines. Other anti-aging effects come from increasing the presence of superoxide dismutase in the brain and liver; it is an enzyme that acts as a potent antioxidant throughout the body, particularly in the skin. It can also help with anti-inflammatory purposes and antioxidant effects, the medical benefits that come from this organism are so vast that they range from boosting immune health to lowering heart disease.[16] T. fuciformis is also known in Chinese medicine for nourishing the lungs.[17]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f Stamets, Paul (2000). "Chapter 21: Growth Parameters for Gourmet and Medicinal Mushroom Species". Growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms = [Shokuyo oyobi yakuyo kinoko no sabai] (3rd ed.). Berkeley, California, USA: Ten Speed Press. pp. 402–406. ISBN 978-1-58008-175-7.
  2. ^ a b c Hsieh, Huei-Mei; Ju, Yu-Ming; Rogers, Jack D. (July–August 2005). Natvig, Don (ed.). "Molecular phylogeny of Hypoxylon and closely related genera". Mycologia. 97 (4). Lawrence, Kansas, USA: The Mycological Society of America: 844–865. doi:10.3852/mycologia.97.4.844. ISSN 1557-2536. PMID 16457354. Print ISSN: 0027-5514.
  3. ^ a b c Chen C-J. (1998). Morphological and molecular studies in the genus Tremella. Berlin: J. Cramer. p. 225. ISBN 3-443-59076-4.
  4. ^ Roberts P, de Meijer AAR. (1997). "Macromycetes from the state of Paraná, Brazil. 6. Sirobasidiaceae & Tremellaceae". Mycotaxon. 64: 261–283.
  5. ^ Audubon (2023). Mushrooms of North America. Knopf. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-593-31998-7.
  6. ^ Berkeley MJ. (1856). "Decades of Fungi LXI-LXII: Rio Negro fungi". Hooker's Journal of Botany and Kew Garden Miscellany. 8: 272–280.
  7. ^ Guerrero RT. (1971). "On the real nature of the "setae" in Tremella fuciformis". Mycologia. 63 (4): 920–924. doi:10.2307/3758062. JSTOR 3758062.
  8. ^ a b Lowy B. (1971). Flora Neotropica 6: Tremellales. New York: Hafner. ISBN 0-89327-220-5.
  9. ^ "Tremella fuciformis (MushroomExpert.Com)". Archived from the original on 2010-12-18. Retrieved 2010-06-10.
  10. ^ Roberts P. (2001). "Heterobasidiomycetes from Korup National Park, Cameroon". Kew Bulletin. 56 (1): 163–187. Bibcode:2001KewBu..56..163R. doi:10.2307/4119434. JSTOR 4119434.
  11. ^ Australian Fungi Checklist "ICAF - Tremella fuciformis". Archived from the original on 2011-03-18. Retrieved 2010-06-10.
  12. ^ "Tremella fuciformis Berk. 1856 - Biota of NZ". New Zealand Fungi Names Databases (NZFUNGI). Landcare Research. Archived from the original on 24 February 2022. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  13. ^ Olive LS. (1958). "The lower Basidiomycetes of Tahiti (continued)". Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 85 (2): 89–110. doi:10.2307/2483023. JSTOR 2483023.
  14. ^ Hemmes DE, Desjardin DE. (2002). Mushrooms of Hawai'i: an identification guide. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 1-58008-339-0.
  15. ^ a b c d e Chang, Shu-Ting; Miles, Philip G. (2004). "Tremella - Increased Production by a Mixed Culture Technique". Mushrooms: Cultivation, Nutritional Value, Medicinal Effect, and Environmental Impact (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-1043-1.
  16. ^ Ma, Xia; Yang, Meng; He, Yan; Zhai, Chuntao; Li, Chengliang (2021). "A review on the production, structure, bioactivities and applications of Tremella polysaccharides". International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. 35. SAGE Publications: 205873842110005. doi:10.1177/20587384211000541. ISSN 2058-7384. PMC 8172338. PMID 33858263. S2CID 233259839.
  17. ^ Reshetnikov SV, Wasser SP, Duckman I, Tsukor K (2000). "Medicinal value of the genus Tremella Pers. (Heterobasidiomycetes) (review)". International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2 (3): 345–67. doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v2.i3.10.