I was looking out for Spring flowers as we walked around the gardens at Aberglasney last weekend ... and my eyes alighted on these curious red circles. I feel they have sprung right out of Wonderland, alongside the caterpillar with his hookah! Five carotenoid pigments are responsible for the stunning colour.
I have come across these 'fruiting bodies' before, but have never known what they were - other than that they were examples of fungi. This time I was quite happy with my identification of 'Scarlet Elf Cup' aka 'Scarlet Cup Fungus', when I discovered on the Gower Wildlife blog that there are two almost identical saprobic species ... Sarcoscypha austriaca and Sarcoscypha coccinea.
Slugs devour this fungus during the summer months, and rodents have been known to eat it during winter. I noticed a vole hole almost adjacent to one of the Elf Cups.
You can see a fine illustration here (if you click and scroll down a little) of the coccinea species, by the French pharmacist, Jean Louis Émile Boudier (1828 - 1920).
|This shows the proximity of the stream|
Kingdom: Fungi | Division: Ascomycota | Class: Pezizomycetes | Order: Pezizales |
Family: Sarcoscyphaceae | Genus: Sarcoscypha | Species: S. coccinea / austriaca