What You Should Know
Cyathus olla is a species of saprobic fungus in the genus Cyathus of the family Nidulariaceae. The fruit bodies resemble tiny bird's nests filled with "eggs" – spore-containing structures called peridioles. Like other bird's nest fungi, C. olla relies on the force of falling water to dislodge peridioles from fruiting bodies to eject and disperse their spores.
The life cycle of this fungus allows it to reproduce both sexually, with meiosis, and asexually via spores. C. olla is a relatively common fungus, with a worldwide distribution. It is the subject of agricultural research to determine its potential as a means to accelerate the breakdown of crop residue, and reduce the population of plant pathogens.
The specific epithet is derived from the Latin word olla, meaning "pot".
Other names: Field Bird's Nest.
Cyathus olla Mushroom Identification
Saprobic; growing scattered, gregariously, or in dense clusters; sometimes growing terrestrially, but often found on woody debris; frequently encountered on dead plant stems, including corn husks in cornfields and debris in canola fields; summer and fall; widely distributed in North America.
8–15 mm high; 6–10 mm wide; cup-shaped or goblet-shaped; outer surface brownish to grayish, bald or minutely hairy to velvety (but not conspicuously hairy); inner surface bald and shiny, silvery gray to blackish; "lid" typically whitish to pale grayish, soon disappearing; outer edge flared open widely by maturity, frequently broadly wavy.
To 3 or 4 mm wide; round to somewhat irregular in outline; usually somewhat flattened; gray to gray-brown or nearly black; sheathed; attached to the nest by cords.
Spores 10–14 x 6–8 µm; ovate to ellipsoid; smooth.
Photo 1 - Author: Andrea Westmoreland from DeLand, United States (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)
Photo 2 - Author: Lukas from London, England (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)
Photo 3 - Author: Dwergenpaartje (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
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