Tremella foliacea

The gelatinous blob of fungus commonly known as brown witch’s butter, or Tremella foliacea.


Exidia foliacea (Pers.) P. Karst.
Gyraria foliacea (Pers.) Gray
Phaeotremella pseudofoliacea Rea
Tremella ferruginea sensu auct.; fide Checklist of Basidiomycota of Great Britain and Ireland (2005)
Tremella fimbriata Pers.
Tremella foliacea var. fimbriata (Pers.) S. Lundell
Tremella foliacea var. pseudofoliacea (Rea) Kobayasi
Tremella foliacea var. succinea (Pers.) Neuhoff
Tremella frondosa sensu auct.; fide Checklist of Basidiomycota of Great Britain and Ireland (2005)
Tremella nigrescens Fr., Summa veg. Scand.
Tremella succinea Pers.
Ulocolla foliacea (Pers.) Bref.

Common name

Brown witch’s butter
Leafy jelly fungus
Leafy brain fungus


Fruiting body: 3-15 cm across, irregularly globose to cushion-shaped, a mass of irregular, ruffled, leaf-like lobes arising from a common base; surface viscid in wet weather, otherwise moist, individual blades variously wrinkled to folded, upper and lower surfaces fertile; color: red-brown to cinnamon-brown, darkening in age, or when dry; context thin, somewhat translucent, rubbery; odor and taste mild.
Spores: 9-11 x 6-8 µm, subglobose to oval, smooth, hyaline, nonamyloid.
Spore deposit: spores are produced on the entire surface of the fruitbody. In deposit, the spores are colored cream to pale-yellow.
Habitat: usually solitary on rotting hardwood logs and branches; fruiting mainly in late summer and autumn. Widespread, but not common.

Medicinal properties

Anti-tumor effects

Polysaccharides extracted from the mycelial culture of T. foliacea and administered intraperitoneally into white mice at a dosage of 300 mg/kg inhibited the growth of Sarcoma 180 and Ehrlich solid cancers by 60% (Ohtsuka et al., 1973).

Antibacterial activity

Brown witch’s butter was found to not produce antibacterial compounds when screened using an overlay assay (McCormack et al., 1994).

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McCormack PJ, Wildman HG, Jeffries P.
Production of antibacterial compounds by phylloplane-inhabiting yeasts and yeastlike fungi.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 1994 60(3):927-31.

Ohtsuka S, Ueno S, Yoshikumi C, Hirose F, Ohmura Y, Wada T, Fujii T, Takahashi E.
Polysaccharides having an anticarcinogenic effect and a method of producing them from species of Basidiomycetes.
UK Patent 1331513, 26 September 1973.

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