Name: Auricularia auricula-judae
Author: (Bull.) Quél.
Citation: Enchir. fung. (Paris): 207 (1886)
Preferred Synonyms:Auricularia auricula-judae (Bull.) Wettst.
Deprecated Synonyms: Auricularia auricula (Hook.) Under.
Concerns have been raised about the use of this name on this site. I believe this is based on what is believed to be implied anti-semitism in the species epithet auricula-judae. However, as I understand it this is a misunderstanding of the facts of the matter. My understanding of this issue comes primarily from a recent article (spring 2008) in the journal Fungi (Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 13). To quote from that article: "The salient fact is this: Auricularia auricula (Hooker) Underwood, known in the 19th century as Hirneola auricula-judae (Fries) [sic], is also known as “Judas’s Ear” and “Jew’s Ear.” In fact, its former Latin species epithet auricula-judae literally means “ear of Judas.” It became known as “Judas’s Ear” by virtue of the fact that it grew on elder (Sambucus)…. Christian legend maintains that the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified was made from the elder tree and, more significantly, that Judas Iscariot … hanged himself from an elder." The article goes on to discuss the racism and anti-semitism that pushed this name to become more and more associated with racist views of Jews. Thus the species epithet itself is not anti-semitic.
On the more technical side, there is the question of whether the ‘correct’ name for this taxon is A. auricula or A. auricula-judae. The above cited article as well as the popular website MushroomExpert.com favor A. auricula. However, other sites such as the nomenclature databases Index Fungorum (record 102281) and MycoBank (#102281), as well as Wikipedia favor A. auricula-judae.
Though A. auricula was published by Linnaeus and much older than A. auricula-judae the former name was not sactioned (used by Fries) while the latter was giving A. auricula-judae precedence over A. auricula.
Also note that (as of 2 June 2014) Mycobank gives a different authorship and citation than Index Fungorum.
Index Fungorum record 102281 says “Auricularia auricula-judae (Bull.) Quél., Enchir. fung. (Paris): 207 (1886)”
MycoBank #102281 says “Auricularia auricula-judae (Bull.) J. Schröt., Kryptogamen-Flora von Schlesien 3-1(4): 386 (1888)”.
Please review name authors on page 16:
Looney, B. P., J. M. Birkebak, and P. B. Matheny. 2013. Systematics of the genus Auricularia with an emphasis on species from the southeastern United States. North American Fungi 8(6): 1-25.
These authors refer to this name as:
Auricularia auricula-judae (Bull.: Fr.) Quél., Enchir. fung.: 207 (1886)
Basionym: Tremella auricula-judae Bull.: Fr., Herb. Fr. 9: tab. 427 (1789)