Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Dacrymycetes - Order: Dacrymycetales - Family: Dacrymycetaceae
Gregarious or in large merging groups on dead broadleaf or conifer wood, including fence posts and rails, decking and garden furniture as well as fallen trunks and branches, this common fungus displays a preference for timber that is already fairly well rotted.
The fruitbodies can appear at any time of the year during periods of wet weather; this is also a characteristic of many other members of the order Dacrymycetales.
Common and widespread in Britain and Ireland, Dacrymyces stillatus occurs also throughout mainland Europe and many other parts of the world including North America.
In 1816 German mycologist Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck (1776 -1858) described Common Jellyspot fungus and gave it the binomial scientific name Dacrymyces stillatus, which remains its generally-accepted name.
Synonyms of Dacrymyces stillatus include Dacrymyces deliquescens, Dacrymyces lacrymalis, Tremella lacrymalis, Tremella abietina Pers., Calloria stillata (Nees) Fr., and Dacrymyces abietinus (Pers.) J. Schröt.
Dacrymyces stillatus is the type species of the genus Dacrymyces.
Set up by Nees in 1816, the genus Dacrymyces is named from Dacry- meaning a tear (as in weeping) and -myces meaning fungus, while the specific epithet stillatus means poured or dripped. Hence Dacrymyces stillatus means teardrop-like fungi that look as though they have dripped on to the substrate.
Dull orange-yellow when moist and fresh, becoming more brown and translucent with age; cushion-shaped blobs, slightly flattened; 1 to 8mm across and up to 4mm tall.
Elongated ellipsoidal to sausage-shaped, smooth, 14-17 x 5-6 μm; 3-septate (with three cross-walls) at maturity; amyloid.
Habitat & Ecological role
On rotting trunks and stumps of dead broadleaf trees and conifers.
Fruiting in wet weather through most of the year in Britain and Ireland.
Dacrymyces chrysospermus, another orange jelly-like species, has a rudimentary cup-on-a-stem fruitbody rather than a cushion-like form.
Tremella mesenterica produces fruitbodies of similar colour but they are larger and generally convoluted and lobed.
Fascinated by Fungi, 2nd Edition, Pat O'Reilly 2016, reprinted by Coch-y-bonddu Books in 2022.
Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008
Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi.
This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Tony Mellor.
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