Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nothing says "spring" like Sarcoscypha dudleyi!

Scarlet cups are the very first spring fungi to show up here (not including the crazy little ones that try to out-smart winter, and emerge in little protected crevices in fallen logs and then get all jacked-up and frozen), and I am very happy that they are a bright happy scarlet red. They pop out against the carpet of winter fallen leaves.

Sarcoscypha sp.

About 2". There's some old walnut husks next to this one for scale (I didn't put them there--it was probably faeries).

Also, this happened:

Sarcoscypha emerging in woven grass

And here's the whole field, with a happy Sarcoscypha right in the middle of it. Click to view huge so you can see it. They are bright.

Scarlet cup just off center in field

Okay, I was ready to plunk the name Sarcoscypha coccinea on this (from my Audubon Society's field guide) until I read more than one source (hint, hint). Michael Kuo's key says S. coccinea is found in the Pacific Northwest and California, and I am not in either of those places (although I dream of Oregon rainforests, the mecca of mushrooms in the U.S., and I would move there in one minute). So that means that what we find here in Missouri is S. dudleyi, or S. austriaca, and you can't tell them apart except by looking at their spores through a microscope, and as we all know, I don't HAVE a microscope. I'll just call them Sarcoscypha and be done with it.

I've only found these in one spot (well, one more over in this other spot), but this is only my second spring of mushrooms, so they may be all over the place but I haven't found them yet.

Oh, and these puff out spores when you blow on them--seems like there's always little pieces of stuff inside them, and when you blow it out to make them nice for a photo, there's about a 2-second delay and then a wisp of smoke-like spores comes out!

Anyway, now I believe that spring is here. Even if I still have to wear layers. And have the heat on. And can't open the windows yet. But it's here.