Scarlet Elfcup - Sarcoscypha austriaca

    Description

    Cup shaped, inner surface smooth, scarlet, outer surface whitish to pinkish, attached to the substrate by a thick stem, flesh is white firm and tough with a thin red layer lining the cup. On microscopic examination the hairs on the outside of the cup are curly or corkscrew shaped. Spore print white, spores 24-32 x 12-14μm. 

    Similar Species

    The Ruby Elfcup, Sarcoscypha coccinea, is generally smaller, but the sizes of the two species overlap. Positive identification requires microscopy of mature spores released from asci - square-ended in S. austrica and narrower with rounded ends in S. coccinea.

    Photo ID?
    Habitat

    This species is found growing on fallen pieces of dead hardwood among mosses and leaf litter in damp habitats.

    When to see it

    Late winter to early spring.

    Life History

    Grows on rotting mossy wood fragments in very damp to wet conditions.  Locally it fruits most profusely in calcareous habitats.

    UK Status

    Widespread and common.

    VC55 Status

    Recorded frequently in suitable conditions.  May be under-recorded as the main fruiting period is February to April.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map