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Otidea onotica

[ Ascomycetes > Pezizales > Pyronemataceae > Otidea . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This cup fungus and its close relatives, members of the genus Otidea, are characteristically split down one side, resulting in a folded cup shape. Much is made in keys to Otidea of whether the cup shape is reminiscent of an erect rabbit ear, or is more truncated and cuplike--but this "character" is difficult to assess, and microscopic examination is often required to identify species.

Otidea onotica is supposed to be one of the "rabbit-ear species" rather than one of the "chopped-off, split goblet" species. More reliable characters include its brownish yellow colors, the rosy tinge on the inner surface, its clustered growth, and microscopic characters (see below).


Ecology: Saprobic, growing terrestrially in woods under hardwoods or conifers; often clustered, but occasionally growing alone or scattered; summer and fall (winter and spring in warmer areas); widely distributed in North America.

Fruiting Body: Spoon-shaped, ear-shaped, or cuplike, with a cleft down one side; up to 10 cm high and 6 cm across; inner surface yellowish to orangish, often with rose or pink areas; outer surface similarly colored but lacking pink or rose shades, often finely fuzzy; stem if present whitish, small, and rudimentary. Odor none. Flesh pale yellowish; brittle.

Microscopic Features: Spores 12-14 x 6-7 µ; smooth; elliptical; with one or two oil droplets. Asci eight-spored; up to 200 x 11 µ. Paraphyses narrow, usually with hooked or curved ends (see illustration).

REFERENCES: (Persoon, 1801) Fuckel, 1869. (Fries, 1822; Seaver, 1928; Kanouse, 1949; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Arora, 1986; Barron, 1999.) Herb. Kuo 09110415.

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Otidea onotica

Otidea onotica

Otidea onotica

Otidea onotica
Hooked paraphysis

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Kuo, M. (2006, April). Otidea onotica. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: