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Ascocoryne sarcoides

[ Ascomycota > Helotiales > Helotiaceae > Ascocoryne . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Ascocoryne sarcoides is a funky mushroom that looks either like a jelly fungus or a cup fungus, depending on which stage of its life cycle it is in when you find it. In its asexual, "anamorphic" stage, it produces cloned conidia (asexual spores) and looks like purple globs of jelly, or gelatinized fingers. In its sexual, "teleomorphic" stage, it produces asci and spores and looks more like a disc or a cup, although its flesh is still quite gelatinous. When in the teleomorphic stage it can easily be confused with Ascocoryne cylichnium, which differs microscopically.


Ecology: Saprobic on the well-decayed wood of hardwoods; growing gregariously or clustered; fall and winter; widely distributed in North America.

Fruiting Body: Anamorphic stage initially lumpy and irregular, becoming more or less club-shaped, gelatinous, lavender to purple or wine red, forming brain-like masses that can stretch up to 20 cm across; teleomorphic stage cup-like to disc-like, gelatinous, purple and more or less bald on the upper surface, paler and bald or finely fuzzy on the undersurface, with or without a poorly defined stem-like structure; odorless.

Microscopic Features: Spores 13-21 x 3.5-5 µ; smooth; fusiform; biguttulate at first, developing more guttules and, eventually, a septum (rarely more than one septum); rarely with lemon-shaped conidia developing from the spore (and, when conidia develop, coalescing in chains). Asci eight-spored, with spores usually packed in four rows of two; up to 130 x 10 µ; extreme apices blue in Melzer's reagent. Paraphyses filiform, with subclavate or merely rounded apices 1-2 µ wide.

REFERENCES: (Jacquetant, 1781) Groves & Wilson, 1967. (Saccardo, 1889; Seaver, 1928; Dennis, 1968; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 1984; Lincoff, 1992; Barron, 1999; Baral, 2000; McNeil, 2006; Trudell & Ammirati, 2009.) Herb. Kuo 10110905.

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Ascocoryne sarcoides
Anamorphic stage

Ascocoryne sarcoides
Teleomorphic stage

Ascocoryne sarcoides
Teleomorphic stage: spores

Ascocoryne sarcoides
Teleomorphic stage: paraphyses

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