Major Groups > Cup Fungi > Sarcosphaera coronaria


Sarcosphaera coronaria

[ Ascomycetes > Pezizales > Pezizaceae > Sarcosphaera ... ]

by Michael Kuo

Cup fungi are not often easy to identify, but Sarcosphaera coronaria is distinctive enough to stand out from the monotonous masses. When young the clustered cups are nearly closed, and grow submerged in the ground with only the top portion sticking out. With age the cup opens up and the edges split and peel backwards in vaguely star-like rays. The inner/upper surface is pale lilac, and the flesh is thin and brittle. Sarcosphaera coronaria is common from the Rocky Mountains westward, growing under conifers or, less frequently, under hardwoods. Peziza ammophila also grows submerged in the ground, but it is brown and prefers coastal sand to inland soil.

Sarcosphaera crassa and Sarcosphaera eximia are synonyms; "Sarcosphaera exima" is a misspelling in Smith, Smith & Weber (1981).


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with conifers; growing alone or (more commonly) in clusters, partially submerged in the ground; spring, summer, or fall; common from the Rocky Mountains westward but reported in Michigan and New York.

Fruiting Body: Bowl-shaped, ball-like, or goblet-shaped when young, with a small opening near the top; usually splitting into "rays" by maturity and folding back to be star-shaped or saucer-shaped; up to 20 cm across when mature; upper/inner surface whitish becoming lilac to pale lilac brown, smooth or finely scaly; lower/outer surface whitish, roughened (and covered with dirt), sometimes bruising yellowish; stem rudimentary or absent; flesh brittle, whitish.

Microscopic Features:Spores 14-22 x 7-9 µ; elliptical with blunt ends; with 1-3 oil droplets (most commonly with 2); smooth or slightly roughened. Paraphyses cylindric, with rounded apices. Asci with blue tips in IKI or Melzer's reagent; 8-spored; 300-360 x 10-13 µ.

REFERENCES: (Jacquin, 1778) Schröter, 1893. (Saccardo, 1889; Smith, 1975; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 1984; Arora, 1986; States, 1990; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Evenson, 1997; Miller & Miller, 2006; Trudell & Ammirati, 2009; Kuo & Methven, 2010.) Herb. Kuo 08060502.

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Sarcosphaera coronaria

Sarcosphaera coronaria

Sarcosphaera coronaria

Sarcosphaera coronaria
Asci and paraphyses in Melzer's

Sarcosphaera coronaria

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