Partial, In-Progress Key to North American Cup Fungi
NOTE: The key below delays using microscopic features for as long as possible--but does, inevitably, resort to them when the microscopic piper must be paid. Many places in the key are still undeveloped; I apologize to readers whose cup fungi are not yet included.
|1.||Cup initially (American) football-shaped and closed; later splitting into star-like rays; found in Texas, associated with stumps of cedar elm.|
|1.||Cup not as above; range and ecology varying.|
|2.||Cups when young growing partially underground (usually in clusters), the margin later peeling back in vaguely star-like rays; inner surface pale lilac to purplish when fresh; common in the Rocky Mountains and western North America, more rare in the east.|
|2.||Not completely as above.|
|3.||Growing in burned areas (burned forests, camp-fire pits, and so on).|
|3.||Not growing in burned areas.|
|5.||Margin of cup with tiny hairs, reminiscent of eyelashes or fringe (a hand lens may be required)--and/or undersurface of cup hairy (compare with option below).|
|5.||Margin of cup without eyelashes or fringe; undersurface of cup bald, velvety, granular, finely fuzzy, scurfy, pustulate (and so on) but not hairy.|
|6.||Upper surface whitish to creamy or pale bluish; undersurface with brown hairs that contrast with the paler surface underneath.|
|6.||Upper surface dull to bright yellow, brown, orangish brown, red, or orange; hairs on undersurface variously colored.|
|7.||Cup 2-7 cm across at maturity; usually with a ribbed pseudo-stem (often submerged in the ground) measuring up to about 2 x 2 cm; spores 25-30 µ long.|
|7.||Cup 1-3 cm across at maturity; with or without a pseudostem; spores variously sized.|
|8.||Stem absent; undersurface densely hairy, appearing more or less brown from the hairs; spores 20-25 µ long.|
|8.||Pseudo-stem usually present (often submerged in the ground); undersurface sparsely hairy, appearing pale; spores 30-45 µ long.|
|9.||Cup goblet-shaped, fringed with prominent tufts of white hairs, about a centimeter across when mature; stem long and well developed.|
|10.||Cup 3-7 cm across; upper surface dull to bright yellow or occasionally orangish yellow; outer/under surface dark brown to nearly black, hairy to woolly.|
|10.||Cup well under 3 cm across; upper surface red to orange; outer/under surface varying.|
|11.||Mature spores with oil droplets.|
|11.||Mature spores without oil droplets.|
|12.||Spores ellipsoid; upper surface orange to red.|
|14.||Hairs pale yellowish or, at the most, light brown; growing on dung or occasionally on plant debris or soil.|
|14.||Hairs dark brown; growing only on dung.|
|15.||Mature cup usually over half a centimeter across; hairs not branching (under the microscope).|
|15.||Mature cup usually less than half a centimeter across; hairs along the margin not branching, but hairs farther down the cup's outer surface branching.|
|16.||Cups often clustered, arising from a shared, rudimentary stem structure; growing on the deadwood of hardwoods; cups up to about 3 cm across, often with a stretched appearance; paraphyses distinctively lanceolate and septate.|
|16.||Cups not clustered and sharing a stem structure; growing on wood or not; variously sized and shaped; paraphyses not as above.|
|17.||Cup with a well developed stem that is fairly long in proportion to the cup (not stubby or rudimentary).|
|17.||Cup without a stem, or with a stubby or rudimentary stem.|
|18.||Growing from sticks or (sometimes buried) woody debris in spring in eastern North America; goblet-shaped when young; inner/upper surface black; outer/under surface brown to black, usually scaly; stem black, tapered to base.|
|18.||Not completely as above.|
|19.||Stem prominently ribbed; cup yellow brown to brown, grayish brown, or gray.|
|19.||Stem not ribbed; cup variously colored.|
|20.||Ribs, by maturity, extending onto the undersurface of the cup.|
|22.||Cup tiny and bright red; growing from sticks or buried woody debris in hardwood forests east of the Rocky Mountains.|
|22.||Not completely as above.|
|24.||Cups minute (4 mm wide or less); growing on hickory shells, acorns, and other "nutty" debris; uniformly whitish to pale yellow.|
|24.||Not completely as above.|
|25.||Cups bright orange; stem whitish; common on the West Coast but rare or absent elsewhere in North America.|
|25.||Cup not orange; stem variously colored; variously distributed.|
|26.||Cups darkly colored (very dark brown to black).|
|26.||Cups paler than above (tan, grayish brown, brown, or gray).|
|27.||Widely distributed in montane and northern North America; growing terrestrially in woods; spores with one large oil droplet.|
|27.||Apparently limited to western North America; growing from woody debris under conifers, often in spring, near melting snowbanks; spores without oil droplets.|
|28.||Mature spores elliptical.|
|29.||Stem whitish, stout (about as long as the cup is wide, or shorter); cup pale to medium grayish brown.|
|29.||Stem brownish to brown, not stout (usually longer than the cup is wide at maturity); cup medium to dark brown.|
(= H. villosa, H. pallidula)
|30.||Growing on wood. Note: Only some of the larger and/or charismatic species are treated here. There are dozens and dozens of tiny (under 1 cm across), wood-inhabiting, cup-like species; see the sources by Dennis and by Breitenbach & Kränzlin, below, for an introduction.|
|30.||Growing on the ground (if "the ground" is actually your carpet or flooring, see Peziza domiciliana).|
|31.||Cup goblet-shaped, 2-5 cm across; flesh thick and gelatinous; upper surface drab orangish or reddish; outer surface dark brown or black; spores warted; growing in clusters on hardwood sticks and logs east of the Rocky Mountains.|
|31.||Not completely as above.|
|32.||Broadly attached to the wood so that only the extreme margin can be lifted; flesh somewhat gelatinous or rubbery.|
|32.||Attached to the wood centrally, but not broadly; flesh fairly brittle.|
|33.||Spores stippled or warted.|
|34.||Mature cup less than 1 cm wide.|
|35.||Warts 1 µ or longer.|
|36.||Entire fruiting body blue to greenish blue; growing from greenish stained wood.|
|37.||Spores 9-14 x 2-4 µ.|
|38.||Upper surface bright red when fresh.|
|38.||Upper surface otherwise colored.|
|39.||Cup larger; spores longer.|
|40.||Found elsewhere; spores sheathed or not.|
|41.||Mature spores with rounded ends; spores with several large (5-7 µ) oil droplets; spores when fresh and viewed in a water mount often encased by a full sheath; hairs on excipular surface not curling and twisted under the microscope.|
|41.||At least some mature spores with flattened ends; spores with many oil droplets smaller than above; spores when fresh and viewed in a water mount lacking a full sheath but occasionally with "polar caps" (a sheathlike covering at each end); hairs on excipular surface curling and twisted under the microscope.|
|42.||Cups bright yellow; under half a centimeter across.|
|42.||Not completely as above.|
|43.||Cup with a (proportionally) substantial stem; growing on small sticks or twigs.|
|43.||Cup lacking a stem; growing on logs or stumps.|
|44.||Growing on twigs of willows; spores 12.5-16 µ long; paraphyses not septate.|
|46.||Tips of asci bluing in Melzer's reagent or IKI (in some cases, only the extreme apex of the ascus turns blue; use high magnification).|
|46.||Tips of asci not bluing in iodine mounts.|
|47.||Cups a shade of purple; spores fusoid or nearly so.|
|47.||Cup variously colored; spores ellipsoid.|
|48.||Most mature spores over 20 µ long, with 2 or more septa; spores often developing individual small, round conidia, especially at each end.|
|48.||Most mature spores under 20 µ long, with 1 septum; spores rarely developing lemon-shaped conidia in chains.|
|49.||Cup under 2 cm across; with a rudimentary stem; color varying from olive to dirty orange to brown; spores septate in Melzer's reagent.|
|49.||Cup variously sized; lacking a stem; color not as above; spores not septate.|
|50.||Spores 11-15 µ long; medullary excipulum hyaline to brownish in KOH; terminal cells on excipular surface cylindric to subclavate.|
|50.||Spores 8-12 µ long; medullary excipulum dark brown in KOH; terminal cells on excipular surface clavate to subglobose.|
|51.||Spores smooth, without oil droplets; upper surface brown, often wrinkled near the center; undersurface whitish and minutely fuzzy; cup usually flattening out with maturity.|
|51.||Spores roughened or nearly reticulate.|
|52.||Appearing in late spring or early summer in temperate areas; spores roughened but not reticulate, often developing smooth caps at each end.|
|52.||Appearing in late summer and fall in temperate areas; spores nearly reticulate, not developing smooth caps at each end.|
|53.||This portion of the key is not yet developed . . .|
|54.||Cup bright red; collector admits it could have been growing from buried wood, and only appeared to be "terrestrial."|
|54.||Cup not bright red; truly terrestrial.|
|55.||Cup yellow or orange overall.|
|55.||Cup otherwise colored.|
|56.||Margin of cup bruising and discoloring bluish to greenish; commonly collected from the Rocky Mountains westward in spring or early summer (rare or absent in eastern North America).|
|56.||Not completely as above.|
|57.||Cup bright orange; not usually split down one side or appearing truncated (chopped off); spores warted; paraphyses with rounded ends.|
|57.||Cup dull orange or dull yellow; usually split down one side and/or appearing truncated; spores smooth; paraphyses with hooked ends.|
|58.||Cup usually split down one side (often appearing like an erect rabbit ear) but not appearing truncated; inner surface usually with pinkish hints; spores 12-14 x 6-7 µ.|
|58.||Cup sometimes split down one side, but usually appearing truncated (almost never appearing like an erect rabbit ear); inner surface without pinkish tints; spores 14-16 x 7-9 or 9-11 x 5.5-6.5 µ.|
|59.||Cup split down one side, appearing somewhat like a rabbit ear standing erect.|
|59.||Cup not shaped as above.|
|60.||Outer surface brown; inner surface orangish to pinkish or reddish; growing under hardwoods in eastern North America; spores 35-40 µ long.|
|60.||Not completely as above.|
|61.||Spores with 2 or more oil droplets.|
|62.||This portion of the key is not yet developed; it consists of brownish species of Otidea (in the sense of Kanouse, 1949). For a few commonly collected species, see Otidea onotica and Otidea alutacea.|
|63.||Cup growing partially underground in sand dunes and on beaches; tips of asci bluing in Melzer's reagent or IKI; spores smooth, 14-16 x 10 µ.|
|63.||Not completely as above.|
|64.||Flesh yellow when crushed or with age, sometimes exuding a juice that stains surfaces yellow.|
|64.||Flesh not yellowing or exuding a yellow-staining juice.|
|66.||Tips of asci bluing in Melzer's reagent or IKI.|
|66.||Tips of asci not bluing in Melzer's reagent or IKI.|
|67.||Spores roughened or nearly reticulate.|
|68.||Mature cup 3-8 cm across; appearing in late summer and fall in temperate areas; spores nearly reticulate, not developing smooth caps at each end.|
|68.||Not completely as above.|
|69.||Mature cup 3-10 cm across; appearing in late spring or early summer in temperate areas; spores roughened but not reticulate, often developing smooth caps at each end.|
|69.||Not completely as above.|
|70.||This portion of the key is not yet developed . . .|
|71.||Paraphyses with orangish to yellowish orange or red contents in a 2% KOH mount (cup-like species of Gyromitra).|
|71.||Paraphyses not as above.|
|72.||Spores in a water mount without apiculi or with pointed to blunt apiculi that do not appear scooped out.|
|73.||Found in the Pacific Northwest; spores with two prominent oil droplets, 10-14.5 x 7-9.5 µ, very finely warted, lacking apiculi.|
|73.||Variously distributed; spores primarily with one prominent oil droplet (sometimes with 2-3 droplets), much longer than above, usually appearing smooth with light microscopy, with or without prominent apiculi.|
|74.||Apiculi absent or, if present, broadly rounded.|
|75.||Cup deep, with a ragged or lacerated upper margin; outer surface two-toned: grayish brown above, but whitish toward the base; base indistinct, vaguely pinched and ribbed.|
|75.||Not completely as above.|
|76.||Spores with homogeneous contents; mature cup often very wrinkled or veined, at least centrally.|
|76.||Not completely as above.|
|77.||Spores smooth and elliptical, with 2 oil droplets in a KOH mount; flesh pale; cups .5-4 cm across, usually remaining deeply cup-shaped throughout development; often with a rudimentary pseudo-stem (usually buried in the soil).|
|77.||Not completely as above.|
|78.||Cup surfaces bright pink; usually growing in recently burned areas.|
= Tarzetta rosea
|78.||Cup surfaces not pink; usually growing in non-burned areas.|
|79.||Mature cup under 2 cm across; paraphyses with rounded, subclavate, or subacute apices (not lobed or hydra-like).|
|79.||Mature cup larger than above (2-4 cm across); paraphyses developing irregularly lobed or hydra-like tips.|
|80.||Pseudo-stem usually present; paraphyses becoming irregularly lobed but not hydra-like; spores 20-24 µ long.|
|80.||Pseudo-stem usually absent; paraphyses becoming irregularly lobed and developing hydra-like tips; heterosporous (spores falling into two size groups: 20-24 µ long and 12-14 µ long).|
|81.||This portion of the key is not yet developed . . .|
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Kuo, M. (2013, December). Cup fungi. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/cups.html