|Major Groups > Bird's Nest Fungi > Nidularia pulvinata|
by Michael Kuo
This bird's nest fungus is apparently widely distributed in North America, but seldom collected. It grows on deadwood (including driftwood in coastal areas), and until maturity appears more like a puffball or slime mold than a bird's nest fungus, since it belongs to a fairly small group of bird's nest fungi that do not form goblet-shaped splash cups to hold the spore-filled "eggs." Instead, the outer surface breaks up irregularly, leaving an exposed pile of eggs. Within this group of bird's nests, Nidularia pulvinata is distinguished by its granular to fuzzy, brown outer surface; its variably-shaped, brown, shiny eggs that do not become wrinkled when dried for the herbarium; and microscopic features, including spinose hyphae in the outer surface, and fused, inseparable hyphae in the wall of the peridiole.
Nidularia deformis (previously known as Nidularia farcta) is very similar, but its eggs are consistently lens-shaped, dull, reddish brown, and wrinkled when dried; additionally the hyphae in the wall of the peridiole are separable.
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Thanks to Crystal Davidson for documenting, collecting, and preserving Nidularia pulvinata for study; her collection is deposited in The Herbarium of Michael Kuo.
Ecology: Saprobic; growing scattered or gregariously on old, decorticated deadwood of hardwoods or conifers (including driftwood) in natural settings; usually growing on the upper sides of logs; summer and fall; originally described from the Carolinas; widely distributed in North America. The illustrated and described collections are from Missouri and Ohio.
Nest: 5–10 mm across; shaped like a glob or a ball; outer surface finely shaggy, powdery, or velvety, becoming smoother with age (but often appearing "lumpy" as a result of being pressed against the eggs inside); brown or grayish brown (less often reddish brown), fading to pale brown or nearly white; at maturity breaking up irregularly to expose a pile of eggs.
Eggs: To 1 mm wide; irregularly shaped—ranging from circular to elliptical in outline, and from platelet-like to lozenge-like or lens-like overall; shiny; grayish brown; at first embedded in gel.
Dried Specimens: Brown overall; eggs not becoming wrinkled.
Microscopic Features: Spores 6–9 x 4.5–5.5 µm; ellipsoid; smooth; thin-walled; hyaline in KOH. Hyphae from cortex of peridiole inseparable; branching; thick-walled; brown in KOH. Hyphae of the peridium 2–8 µm wide; smooth; spinose; brown in KOH. Clamp connections present.
REFERENCES: (L. D. von Schweinitz, 1822) E. M. Fries, 1823. (Saccardo, 1888; White, 1902; Coker & Couch, 1928; Cejp & Palmer, 1963; Brodie, 1975; Lincoff, 1992; Baseia & Milanez, 2001; Cortez et al., 2006; Kuo & Methven, 2014; Baroni, 2017; Kraisitudomsook et al., 2021.) Herb. Kuo 06202101.
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Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2021, October). Nidularia pulvinata. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/nidularia_pulvinata.html