Went out last night for an hour or so to see if any morels are popping up on our land. We weren’t able to find any morels yet, but we did find several other species of fungi that are common in the spring. They are Scarlet Cups and Pheasant Backs. Some samples of the Scarlet Cups were brought into the store for the “Whats in the Woods?” section. Often times these mushrooms first appear in the woods slightly before the morels do. We are hearing that some people are finding a few morels in the area, but not in any great numbers yet.
These Scarlet Cups were found in a ravine near a small creek. Only one mushroom was initially visible at the surface, but brushing back some leaves revealed a great number. Most were solitary on the partially buried sticks, but there was one cluster of 4 mushrooms.
The Pheasant Backs – which some call Dryad’s Saddle – were still very immature, so we left them to grow a bit longer. We will go back to the spot every night and take some pictures of the growth. It is only a short walk from our house, so it should make a nice set of pictures over the next week or two. Most books make reference to these Pheasant Backs growing on dead elms.
We will be adding the following information to our Hoosier Mushroom Society Page:
Sarcoscypha dudleyi & Sarcoscypha austriaca
Common Name: Scarlet Cup
Scientific Name: Sarcoscypha dudleyi or Sarcoscypha austriaca depending on spores. Sarcoscypha coccinea on the West Coast.
Time of year: Early Spring : Late March to Early May
Edibility: Said to be Edible.
Fruitbody: 2-4 cm (2-6 cm) once mature. Bright red cup-shaped surface. Small white/clear hairs on surface under magnification. Underside of the fruitbody is white. Flesh is thin but not brittle.
Stalks: Absent or up to 2 cm. References mentions up to 3-4cm.
Habitat: This specimen was found on the base of a hillside on partially buried wood. Near a creek in a ravine. One reference makes a mention that these are found near wet places.
Spores: From MushroomExpert.com: Sarcoscypha dudleyi: Spores 25-33 x 12-14 µ; elliptical, with rounded ends; typically with several to many oil droplets; when fresh, entirely sheathed. Sarcoscypha austriaca: Spores 29-36 x 12-15 µ; elliptical, with slightly flattened ends; typically with several to many oil droplets; when fresh not entirely sheathed, but with small “polar caps” sheathing each end.
Lookalikes: S. occidentalis – Occurs later in the spring, has a smaller cup, and a well developed stalk.
Journal Notes: One mushroom was slightly showing through the leaves with its bright red color. Moving nearby leaves found another 5 or 6 more between 2 other partially buried sticks. One cluster of 4 and 2 solitary mushrooms on one 14” stick; 3 solitary on another.
Arora, 1986; Lincoff, 1981; Miller, 2006; MushroomExpert.com; Tom Volk – 1998