Black Jelly Drop

By William T. Hathaway

Black Jelly Drop (Bulgaria inquinans)

The Black Jelly Drop (Bulgaria inquinans) is described as a strange, gelatinous mushroom with a flat top and no stalk. When handled, it is found that the gelatinous feature isn't slimy but is of a tough, jellylike consistency.

Ordinarily, we expect a mushroom to be any rapidly growing, fleshy fungi, with an umbrellalike cap. Specimens like this black jelly drop suggest that mushrooms occur in a great variety of forms. This species usually appears in August thru September on the bark of fallen hardwood trees, especially oak.

Any hiker whose path leads to the discovery of such an odd mushroom is likely to remember these black “licorice” drops on top of a log.