What You Should Know
Peziza ammophila is a brown mushroom in the cup fungus genus Peziza. It grows on dunes and beaches. As it gets older, it comes out from the sand and splits. It grows spring through winter, and in North America. When it matures, it emerges from the sand and splits, often peeling backwards and forming a star shape reminiscent of earthstars like Geastrum saccatum (but without the central puffball).
Other names: Dune Cup, Sand Tulips.
Peziza ammophila Mushroom Identification
Saprobic, growing alone or in clusters in the sand, on or near beaches and dunes; spring through winter; probably widely distributed in North America.
Cup-shaped and buried in the sand when young, typically emerging somewhat and splitting on the edges, often in a star-shaped manner, and peeling outwards; pale to dark brown on upper and under surfaces; often with a more or less central pseudo-stem, where sand grains are bound together with mycelium. Flesh is fragile and brittle.
Spores 14-16 x 10 µ; smooth; elliptical. Asci eight-spored; with blue tips in Melzer's Reagent; up to 200 x 15 µ.
Peziza ammophila Taxonomy and Etymology
The Dune Cup was described scientifically in 1847 by French botanists (both of whom were soldiers) Michel Charles Durieu de Maisonneuve (1796 - 1878) and Jean Pierre François Camille Montagne (1784 - 1866), who gave it the scientific name Peziza ammophila by which is it still generally referred to today.
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 ammophila means 'lover of sand' - a reference to the growing habitat of this cup fungus.
Synonyms of Peziza ammophila include Geopyxis ammophila (Durieu & Mont.) Sacc.
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