Grevillea 2(14): 20. 1873.
Common Name: witch's butter
Synonym: Dacrymyces palmatus (Schwein.) Burt.
Fruiting body sessile to substipitate, at first subglobose, to cushion-shaped, soon deeply wrinkled to cerebriform; substipitate forms initially short-cylindrical to turbinate, becoming lobed to deeply convoluted, sometimes laterally compressed from adjacent fruiting bodies and appearing fan-shaped; at maturity up to 5 cm broad, 2 cm tall, abruptly narrowed and pallid at the attachment point; surface viscid, glabrous, roughened with a hand-lens, yellow-orange, drying reddish-orange to reddish-brown, forming a tough, membranous film on the substrate; context gelatinous, colored like the cap, tending to liquify with age; odor and taste not distinctive.
Spores 18.0-23.0 x 6.5-8.0 µm, oblong to slightly curved, smooth, thin-walled, contents granular, up to seven septa at maturity; spores pale-yellow in deposit.
Scattered to clustered on decorticated conifer wood, or emerging from bark cracks; fruiting throughout the winter months after rainy periods; common.
Dacrymyces chrysospermus is a yellow-orange jelly fungus which closely mimics Tremella aurantia, the common witch's butter. The two taxa are best told apart in the field by differences in habit and substrate. Tremella aurantia is a parasite of Stereum species and typically fruits with its host on hardwoods usually with intact bark. In contrast, Dacrymyces chrysospermus occurs on decorticated conifer wood and is not associated with Stereum species. Despite their similar appearance, the two taxa are actually distantly related as evidenced by their very different microscopic characters. Tremella aurantia has basidia which are longitudinally septate and ovate spores, while Dacrymyces chrysospermus has tuning-fork shaped basidia and multi-septate, curved-oblong spores.
Berkeley, M. A. (1873). Notices of North American Fungi. Grevillea 2(14): 17-20. (Protologue)
Desjardin, D.E., Wood, M.G. & Stevens, F.A. (2015). California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide. Timber Press: Portland, OR. 560 p.
Ellis, M.B. & Ellis, J.P. (1990). Fungi without Gills (Hymenomycetes and Gasteromycetes). Chapman and Hall: London, England. 329 p.
Gilbertson, R.L. (1974). Fungi That Decay Ponderosa Pine. University of Arizona Press: Tuscon, AZ. 197 p.
Kennedy, L.L. (1956). Dacrymyces palmatus. Mycologia 48: 311-319.
Kennedy, L.L. (1958). The Genus Dacrymyces. Mycologia 50(6): 896-915.
Lowy, B. (1971). Flora Neotropica, Monograph No. 6, Tremellales. Hafner Publishing Company: New York, NY. 154 p.
Martin, G. W. (1964). Revision of the North Central Tremellales. J. Cramer: Lehre. 122 p.
McNabb, R.F.R. (1973). Taxonomic Studies in the Dacrymycetaceae VIII. Dacrymyces Nees ex Fries. New Zeal. Journ. Bot. 11: 461-524.