Hare's ear

Hare's ear ┬ęDr Malcolm Storey

Hare's ear

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Scientific name: Otidea onotica
The hare's ear is a cup-like fungus that grows in clusters in broadleaved and mixed woodland, often near to the path. Its orange colour makes it quite conspicuous in the leaf litter.

Top facts


Cup diameter: 1-5cm
Stem height: up to 1cm

Conservation status


When to see

June to November


The hare's ear is a distinctive fungus of deciduous woodlands. The ear-shaped cups appear in groups on the soil and leaf litter of mixed and deciduous woodlands, often near to paths. Fungi belong to their own kingdom and get their nutrients and energy from organic matter, rather than photosynthesis like plants. It is often just the fruiting bodies, or 'mushrooms', that are visible to us, arising from an unseen network of tiny filaments called 'hyphae'. These fruiting bodies produce spores for reproduction, although fungi can also reproduce asexually by fragmentation.

What to look for

The hare's ear displays large, lopsided 'cups', with slightly inrolled margins. The inner surface of the cups is smooth and pinkish-yellow to orange in colour. The outer surface is paler buff in colour. It has a short, hairy basal stem.

Where to find


Did you know?

The hare's ear fungus grows throughout mainland Europe.