Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Black cup fungi

Urnula or Plectania or what?, originally uploaded by Mycologista.
Urnula or Plectania or what?

Everybody assumed these were Devil's Urn (Urnula craterium) except they're not growing in the right place. U. craterium grows on smallish sticks. I found lots of these, all jammed up tight against the base of Eastern Red Cedars. They're also much smaller than devil's urns, biggest only about 1/2" across.

To be fair, the big one in the center with the nice fringed edge probably IS a standard devil's urn. But all the little ones behind, not.

Michael Kuo himself, the rock star of mushroom book authors ("100 Edible Mushrooms"--hugely useful and highly entertaining), has offered to take a closer look at them. His website,, is the go-to site for mycophiles.

I'll eventually get around to sending some dried specimens to him. The poor guy, he's swamped with "What's THIS?" e-mails, including from me. Well, you makes your bed, you sleeps in it.

*Update: I've passed this around and a few actual mushroom people agree that it's probably Plectania. Or Pseudoplectania. Not much info out there on these for us amateurs.

Book cover for '100 Edible Mushrooms'
It's really a great book. Too bad I don't actually OWN it.
*Edit sometime in fall, 2011: I own it now! I am proud and happy!

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