What You Should Know
Plectania melastoma is a member of the large Sarcosomataceae family of the order Pezizales. Members of this family are typically neither mycorrhizal nor edible. It can be distinguished by small black cups with granulose, rusty orange external surface, large ellipsoid-subfusoid spores, and growth on rotten, often moss-covered conifer wood. Plectania milleri is similar, but its black external surface that lacks orange granules. Pseudoplectania nigrella also forms small cupulate fruitbodies, but they are entirely black, sessile, have globose spores, and usually grow on soil.
Habitat solitary to scattered, often among mosses on well-rotted conifer wood especially in mossy Sitka spruce forests; uncommon, fruiting in spring in coastal conifer forests.
Other names: Jellylike Black Urn, Black Cup Fungus.
Plectania melastoma Mushroom Identification
This small cup- or urn-shaped fungus is black with rusty orange granules dotting the outer surface, especially along the rim. It is initially closed and is 1-2 cm wide when open. The inner surface is black with a smooth, gelatinous texture. The stem, if present, is 5-10 mm long and thick.
Habitat & Range
This species is visible in May and June and can be found growing individually or in clusters on decaying wood and bark from conifers.
Plectania milleri, Pseudoplectania nigrella, and P. vogesiaca, are not dotted with orange granules.
Plectania melastoma Synonyms
Calycina melastoma (Sowerby) Gray, Nat. Arr. Brit. Plants, 1: 670 (1821)
Lachnea melastoma (Sowerby) Gillet, Champ. Fr., Discom.: 66 (1880)
Sarcoscypha melastoma (Sowerby) Cooke., Handb. Austral. Fungi: 259 (1892)
Scutellinia melastoma (Sowerby) Kuntze, Rev. Gener. Plant., 3: 520 (1898)
Urnula melastoma (Sowerby) Boud., Icon. mycol., liste prélim.: 3 (1904)
Bulgaria melastoma (Sowerby) Seaver, N. Amer. Cup Fungi, Operc.: 197 (1928)
Photo 1 - Author: Drew Parker (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 2 - Author: Thomas Laxton (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: GLJIVARSKO DRUSTVO NIS from Serbia (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)