Dacryopinax spathularia: The Fan-Shaped Jelly Fungus

Dacryopinax spathularia, also known as The Fan-Shaped Jelly Fungus or Sweet Osmanthus Ear, is a small, orange to yellowish-orange, spatula-shaped fungus known for its unique appearance and gelatinous texture.(1)

This species was first described from North Carolina by the prominent German-American mycologist Lewis David de Schweinitz, who named it Merulius spathularius. In the 1940 the taxonomy of this species was revised by the American mycologist G.W. Martin. Recognizing the frequently spathulate shape of its fruiting bodies, Martin reclassified the species into the newly created genus Dacryopinax. However, contemporary molecular investigations have demonstrated that Dacryopinax spathularia’s placement within this genus is not accurate, as it is not closely related to either the genus’s type species or its other members. As such D. spathularia awaits detailed analysis and thorough taxonomic reassessment.

The etymology of this species’ name refers purely to its morphology. The genus name Dacry– means a tear, while pinax means a “likeness” or “picture.” As such the genus name translates to “tearlike”. As for the specific epithet, Spathul– means “little spade” in reference to the flattened portion of the fruiting body.

Synonyms of this species include: Cantharellus spathularius, Guepinia spathularia, Guepiniopsis spathularia, Merulius spathularius, Dacrymyces spathularia.

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