Also known as “wood ear” because of its shape, this flabby brown jelly fungus is found on the wood and bark of many native trees. The fruiting bodies can be up to 15–20 cm across.
Normally found on dead wood, or on dead parts of living trees. It forms flabby cup or ear-shaped brackets of a dull grey-brown colour, becoming a blue-grey colour as they age. It is edible, and is used in Chinese dishes. It was exported from New Zealand, mainly from the Taranaki area in the latter part of the 1800's, by a Chinese man called Chew Chong. Export of this fungus continued until the 1960's, when the Taiwanese discovered ways of commercially producing it on sawdust. The New Zealand Geographic Number 18 has an article on edible fungi and has more details on the export of wood ear.