Public Description of Aleuria aurantia (Pers.) Fuckel

Title: Public Description (Default)
Name: Aleuria aurantia (Pers.) Fuckel
View: public
Edit: public
Version: 11
Previous Version

Descriptions: Create
 Public Description (Default) [Edit]
 Public Description [Edit]
 Draft For 2008/2009 Eol University Species Pages Initiative By Kayla Simonson (Private)
 Draft For Macrofungi Of The Pacific Northwest By Chaelthomas (Private)

Description status: Approved
 (Latest review: 2010-04-07 18:09:48 PDT (-0700) by nathan)

Taxonomic Classification:

Domain: Eukarya
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Ascomycota
Class: Pezizomycetes
Order: Pezizales
Family: Pyronemataceae

General Description:

Aleuria aurantia is known as the orange peel fungus and is a cup fungi. This bright orange fungus has a brittle fruiting body consisting of several folds that look like several small cups, hence the name. A. aurantia is small, growing up to 4".The underside is felt-looking and white. A. aurantia is stalk-less and often grows in clusters as on dead wood.

Diagnostic Description:

A. aurantia (above) has an orange fruiting body with cup-like folds. Microscopically, the spores are big, hyaline, and have spiny projections. They range from 17-24 × 9-11 micrometers. As part of the Discomycetes, the spores start out encased in an ascus in a half-circular, disc-shaped apothecium. A. aurantia also has small sterile hyphal structures called paraphyses inside the apothecia which appear to have rounded ends.

Aleuria aurantia closely resembles Otidea onotica and Sowerbyella rhenana and can be distinguished by them macroscopically and microscopically.
Macroscopically, A. aurantia has a brighter, richer orange color than O. onotica and S. rhenana which are more of a pale orange or dark yellow-orange. Microscopically, the spores of O. onotica are much smaller and do not have projections which A. aurantia does. In addition, S. rhenana has a stalk and A. aurantia is stalk-less.


A. aurantia is found throughout North America and a few other countries. It is very common, especially from summer to fall.

A. aurantia extracts nutrients from dead organic matter and therefore can be found on dead trees or in the nutrient-rich soil. Occasionally, it is found on roadsides and in gardens due to the clay in the earth. It sometimes fruits abundantly along paths or other areas where the soil becomes compacted.

Look Alikes:

Otidea onotica (above) is also a saprobic cup fungi. It can be distinguished from A. aurantia because of it’s lighter, duller color and because O. onotica has much smaller spores with no projections on them.

Sowerbyella rhenana (below) is also a similar looking saprobic cup fungi. However, just by noting that S. rhenana has a stem and A. aurantia does not, they can be distinguished from one another.


The main use for A. aurantia is not directly for people. It thrives off of dead matter and is able to recycle nutrients back into the environment which helps animals, plants, and people.

A. aurantia is an edible mushroom, as it does not secrete any posionous toxins that would kill anyone who ate it. However, it is not often eaten due its close resemblance to Otidea onotica. Some species of Otidea are orange in color and produce very harmful human toxins.


Bessette, Bessette & Fischer, __Mushrooms of Northeastern North America. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 1997. p. 489-90.


Photographs of Aleuria aurantia and Otidea onotica are courtesy of Michael Kuo and photograph of Sowerbyella rhenana is courtesy of Hiroshi Takahashi.

Kayla Simonson
UW- La Crosse Mycology

Description authors: Tom Volk, Kayla Simonson (Request Authorship Credit)
Description editors: Nathan Wilson, Johannes Harnisch