Orange Peel Fungus

By William T. Hathaway

Orange Peel Fungus (Aleuria aurantia)

The Orange Peel Fungus (Aleuria aurantia) is probably harbored in the memory of the average gardener or outdoor hiker. Such a vivid orange color is bound to be noticed when surrounded by somber colors of leaf litter or hard-packed soils. The shallow orange cups gradually expand and open up, resembling orange peelings. Some collectors say that it has a good flavor.

Unlike most mushrooms, which spread their spores from beneath caps, this fungus has spore-producing structures that line the upper surface of a cup. As the cup ages, a magnifying glass will reveal fine hairs along the paler outer edges of the fungus.

(See also other mushrooms.)