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See also: Jew's ear


Jew's-ear (Auricularia auricula-judae)


A mistranslation of mediaeval Latin auricula Judae (Judas's ear), from its shape, and its occurrence on the tree on which Judas Iscariot was supposed to have hanged himself.


Jew's-ear (plural Jew's-ears)

  1. A kind of edible fungus, Auricularia auricula-judae, growing on tree-trunks, formerly used for medicinal purposes.
    • 1665, Robert Hooke, Micrographia, XIX:
      Hither also may be referr'd those multitudes and varieties of Mushroms, such as that, call'd Jews-ears, all sorts of gray and green Mosses, &c.
    • 1979, Angela Carter, ‘The Erl-King’, The Bloody Chamber, Vintage 2006, p. 99:
      Over the hearth hang bunches of drying mushrooms, the thin, curling kind they call jew's-ears, which have grown on the elder trees since Judas hanged himself on one; this is the kind of lore he tells me, tempting my half-belief.