It can be found in Germany from late summer on elder logs, but also on other hardwood species such as maple or elm. The jew’s ear grows well on thinner, longer logs.
The reddish-brown, violet-grey or almost black fruiting bodies reach a diameter of 3-8 cm, sometimes round like a small bowl, but also with an ear-like shape. The gelatinous fruiting bodies have a barely visible stem. The flesh is thin, cartilaginous and without any particular smell or taste.
A very close relative of the jew‘s ear can be found in Chinese restaurants or as dried mushrooms. This species is usually Auricularia polytricha, also known as "Mu-Err" and "Ear of the Tree". Somewhat misleadingly, it is also known as "Chinese morel". However, this mushroom is not related to the real morels.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Mykologie (German Society for Mycology) chose the jew‘s Ear as "Mushroom of the Year 2017".