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Tarzetta cupularis

[ Ascomycetes > Pezizales > Pyronemataceae > Tarzetta . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This little cup fungus is officially recognized by its tiny size, the goblet-shaped (rather than saucer-shaped) cup, the presence of an indistinct stem-like base, and microscopic features (see below). It also features what I would call a "veil," though most authors do not describe it (even when accompanying photographs illustrate it clearly); when young, the fibrils of the cup's outer surface are woven together over the spore-producing surface, creating a protective covering.

There may be several tiny Tarzetta species passing as "Tarzetta cupularis," since it is documented from a wide variety of ecosystems (everything from burn sites to moss, conifer forests, and hardwood forests).


Ecology: Uncertain; one recent investigation (Tedersoo and collaborators, 2006) suggests that at least some species of Tarzetta are mycorrhizal; growing alone, gregariously, or in small clusters; terrestrial; often reported from burn sites; also reported on moss or bare soil under conifers or hardwoods; late spring and early summer; probably widely distributed in North America.

Fruiting Body: Goblet-shaped from youth to maturity; 5-15 mm across; upper/inner surface smooth, creamy to grayish or yellowish; outer surface hairy to finely mealy or granular; creamy to yellowish, sometimes with brownish pustules and/or whitish hairs, especially toward the margin; when immature with a veil-like covering over the hymenium, later disposed as hairy or toothlike fragments on the cup margin; pseudostem usually present; odor not distinctive; flesh pale.

Microscopic Features: Spores 18-22 x 13-15 µ; smooth; biguttulate. Paraphyses with slightly thickened tips, but not lobed or hydra-like. Tips of asci not bluing in Melzer's reagent.

REFERENCES: (Linnaeus, 1753) Svrcek, 1981. (Fries, 1822; Saccardo, 1889; Seaver, 1928; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 1984; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Barron, 1999; Yao & Spooner, 2002; McNeil, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 06010701.

Tazzetta cupularis is a synonym.

Further Online Information:

Tarzetta cupularis at Roger's Mushrooms


Tarzetta cupularis

Tarzetta cupularis

Tarzetta cupularis

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Kuo, M. (2007, August). Tarzetta cupularis. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: