What You Should Know
Sarcoscypha occidentalis is an inedible species of fungus in the family Sarcoscyphaceae of the Pezizales order. Fruit bodies have small, bright red cups up to 2 cm (0.8 in) wide atop a slender whitish stem that is between 1 to 3 cm (0.4 to 1.2 in) long. A saprobic species, it is found growing on hardwood twigs, particularly those that are partially buried in moist and shaded humus-rich soil. The fungus is distributed in the continental United States east of the Rocky Mountains, Central America, the Caribbean, and Asia.
Other names: Stalked Scarlet Cup, Western Scarlet Cup.
Sarcoscypha occidentalis Mushroom Identification
Saprobic on decaying hardwood sticks and logs (sometimes on buried sticks, appearing terrestrial - and, apparently, sometimes on leaf litter); late spring through fall; widely distributed east of the Rocky Mountains.
Cup shaped to saucer-shaped; minute to 2 cm across (rarely up to 4 or 5 cm across); upper surface scarlet red, fading with age, bald; undersurface whitish (but the red color of the upper surface often shows through), bald; stem 1-3 cm, colored like and continuous with the undersurface, base with hairy white mycelium; flesh thin. The fruit bodies are fleshy to rubbery when fresh, but become leathery when dry.
Spores 18-22 x 10-12 µ; with two or more oil droplets; not sheathed; elliptical; hyaline. Asci 8-spored. Paraphyses filiform; with orangish contents in KOH.
Sarcoscypha occidentalis Look-Alikes
Sarcoscypha coccinea and Sarcoscypha austriaca Differences in geographical distribution, fruiting season, and fruit body structure. Phylogenetic analysis has shown that it is most closely related to other Sarcoscypha species that contain large oil droplets in their spores.
Sarcoscypha occidentalis Taxonomy and Etymology
The fungus, originally collected from Muskingum County, Ohio, was named Peziza occidentalis by Lewis David de Schweinitz in 1832. It was assigned its current name by Pier Andrea Saccardo in 1888. Andrew Price Morgan renamed the species Geopyxis occidentalis in 1902 because of perceived similarity with Geopyxis hesperidea, but the name change was not adopted by subsequent authors. In 1928, Fred Jay Seaver overturned Saccardo's naming and applied the name Plectania to Sarcoscypha coccinea and other red cup fungi. In later taxonomic revisions, Richard P. Korf reinstated the genus name Sarcoscypha.
The specific epithet occidentalis, derived from the Latin word for "western", may refer to the distribution of the species in the western hemisphere.
Sarcoscypha occidentalis Synonyms
Peziza occidentalis Schwein. (1832)
Geopyxis occidentalis (Schwein.) Morgan (1902)
Plectania occidentalis (Schwein.) Seaver (1928)
Photo 1 - Author: hríb (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: Richard Kneal (bloodworm) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 3 - Author: Robert(the 3 foragers) (the3foragers) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 4 - Author: hríb (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Please help improve Ultimate Mushroom:Submit