Welcome to Mushroom Monday for April 23, 2018
The cup fungi are a wide-spread and variable group of cup-shaped mushrooms. The most conspicuous ones are often colourful. There are hundreds of species with many being hard to identify and requiring microscopic features to determine species. No guide book attempts to cover them all so be happy if you can arrive at a genus name. Spores are produced on the inner surface of the cup and are often released in a visible cloud-like puff. Many are found on burned ground and are called “pyrophilus” species.
Cup fungi are most common in spring and occur in a wide range of habitats including dung, grass, sticks, logs and burned areas. The edibility of most is unknown but the majority are small and inconsequential for eating.
Aleuria aurantia (Orange Peel Fungus)
The specific epithet, aurantia, is from Latin and means “orange.” It is recognized by the large (up to 7 cm), brittle, bright orange cups with wavy margins that are found on disturbed ground such as trail and road edges and in campgrounds. It is not poisonous but inconsequential for eating.
Caloscypha fulgens (Golden Cup)
The scientific name means, “bright coloured beautiful cup.” Caloscypha is similar to Aleuria, but the outside of the cups stain bluish-green to olive-gray with age. Look for them in conifer forests growing on the ground particularly near snow bank edges.
Geopyxis carbonaria (Pixie Cups)
The genus name, Geopyxis, means “small box on the ground” and the specific epithet, carbonaria, means “charcoal” referring to its occurrence on burned ground (pyrophilus). The fruiting bodies are only about 1 cm across, goblet-shaped, and are orange-brown, reddish-brown or brown.
Peziza violacea (Violet Cup Fungus or “Fire Cups”)
“Peziza” refers to a mushroom with no stalk and the specific epithet, violacea, refers to the violet colour. This is another pyrophilus species found on burned ground. The inner surface is violet but this bright colour fades with age and they become brown. The cups are about 3 cm across and often occur in large abundance after a fire.