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Sarcoscypha coccinea

[ Ascomycetes > Pezizales > Sarcoscyphaceae > Sarcoscypha ... ]

by Michael Kuo

This gorgeous, scarlet cup fungus is a winter and springtime find on the West Coast, where it grows from hardwood sticks and branches. Although field guides often treat "Sarcoscypha coccinea" as a widely distributed species in North America, it is in the strictest sense only found on our continent in the Pacific Northwest and in California. The eastern versions, Sarcoscypha dudleyi and Sarcoscypha austriaca, are microscopically distinct from the true Sarcoscypha coccinea--though the collection location alone will separate Sarcoscypha coccinea.


Ecology: Saprobic on decaying hardwood sticks (sometimes on buried wood, appearing terrestrial); winter and spring; California and the Pacific Northwest.

Fruiting Body: Cup shaped to saucer shaped; up to 4 cm across; upper surface scarlet red, fading with age to orangish, bald or somewhat hoary; under surface whitish (but the red color of the upper surface often shows through), smooth or finely hairy; stem when present rudimentary, colored like and continuous with the undersurface; flesh thin.

Microscopic Features: Spores 25-35 x 11-14 µ; ellipsoid; with many small (< 3 µ) oil droplets; not sheathed or irregularly sheathed. Asci 8-spored. Paraphyses filiform; with orangish red contents. Excipular surface with hairs that are only slightly curved, and are not twisted.

REFERENCES: (Jacquin, 1772) Saccardo, 1889. (Larsen, 1980/2003; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 1984; Arora, 1986; Harrington, 1990; Baral, 2004.) Herb. Kuo 01120603, 01121101, 01141110.

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Sarcoscypha coccinea

Sarcoscypha coccinea

Sarcoscypha coccinea

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Kuo, M. (2012, April). Sarcoscypha coccinea. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: