What You Should Know
Peziza badia is a species of apothecial fungus belonging to the family Pezizaceae. This is one of the more familiar of the cup fungi of Europe, appearing as irregular dark brown cups up to 8 cm in diameter, often in small groups, on soil in woodland. The species tends to be seen more frequently on sandy soils and favors bare ground, e.g. at the sides of paths.
Peziza badia and the very similar Peziza badioconfusa are essentially identical in appearance but can be distinguished based on microscopic features (the spores are slightly different) and the time of the year when they are most likely to be encountered. Fruiting bodies of Peziza badioconfusa tend to be found in the spring and early summer, whereas those of Peziza badia generally occur during the late summer and fall. Both species are considered edible, but they are rarely collected for human consumption because of their small size.
This cup fungus is poisonous if eaten raw or inadequately cooked, when it can cause seriously unpleasant stomach upsets.
Other names: The Bay Cup.
Peziza badia Mushroom Identification
2 to 8cm across and 1.5 to 4cm tall; cup-shaped with an inturned margin initially, opening into an expanding circular or elliptical cup with a rim that becomes irregular and wavy when fully developed. Outer (infertile) surface is various shades of bay brown and finely scurfy; the inner (hymenial or fertile) surface is smooth and often a slightly darker shade of bay brown, sometimes with an olive tint. The Bay Cup is sessile - it has no stem.
Asci of Peziza badia
300-330 x 15μm; eight spores per ascus; asci amyloid (tips turn blue in Melzer's Reagent).
Ellipsoidal, 17-20 x 9-12μm; ornamented with an irregular reticule (net pattern).
Habitat & Ecological role
Peziza badia is saprobic and occurs on compacted heavy soils, particularly forest footpaths; often among gravel or shale.
There are at least 100 Peziza species and most are various shades of fawn or brown. Definite identification is rarely possible without microscopic examination.
Peziza badia Taxonomy and Etymology
The Bay Cup was described in 1801 by Christiaan Hendrick Persoon, who gave it the scientific name that is generally accepted today.
Synonyms of Peziza badia include Helvella cochleata Bolton, Scodellina badia (Pers.) Gray, and Galactinia badia (Pers.) Fr.
Peziza, the genus name, may come from a Latin root referring to a foot - most fungi in this group being sessile (footless or stemless). The specific epithet badia means bay (reddish) brown.
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