Austrian Sarcoscypha (Sarcoscypha austriaca)Systematics:
- Department: Ascomycota (Ascomycetes)
- Subdivision: Pezizomycotina (Pesizomycotins)
- Class: Pezizomycetes (Pecicomycetes)
- Subclass: Pezizomycetidae (Pecicomycetes)
- Order: Pezizales
- Family: Sarcoscyphaceae
- Genus: Sarcoscypha (Sarcoscifa)
- Species: Sarcoscypha austriaca (Austrian Sarcoscifa)
- Red elven bowl
- Peziza austriaca
- Lachnea austriaca
Fruit body : cupped in youth, with a lighter edge tucked inward, then unfolds to saucer or disc-shaped, may be irregular in shape. Sizes from 2 to 7 centimeters across.
The upper (inner) surface is scarlet, bright red, paler with age. Bald, smooth, may become wrinkled with age, especially near the central part.
The lower (outer) surface is whitish to pinkish or orangey, pubescent.
The hairs are small, thin, whitish, translucent, intricately curved and curled, described as "corkscrew" curled. It is extremely difficult to examine them with the naked eye; microshooting is needed to transfer them to the photo.
Stem : often either completely absent or in a rudimentary state. If there is, then small, dense. Colored like the lower surface of the fruiting body.
Flesh : firm, thin, whitish.
Smell and taste : indistinguishable or weak mushroom.
Spores 25-37 x 9.5-15 microns, ellipsoidal or resembling a soccer ball (football-shaped, description - translation from an American source, we are talking about American football - translator's note), with rounded or, often, flattened ends, as a rule , with many small (<3 μm) oil droplets.
Asci 8 spore.
Paraphysis threadlike, with orange-red content.
Excipular surface with abundant hairs that are skillfully curved, twisted and intertwined.
Chemical reactions : KOH and iron salts are negative on all surfaces.
Albino forms are possible. The absence of one or several pigments leads to the fact that the color of the fruit body is not red, but orange, yellow and even white. Attempts to breed these species genetically have not yet led to anything (albino forms are extremely rare), so, apparently, this is still one species. There is not even a consensus of opinion whether it is albinism or the influence of the environment. So far, mycologists have agreed that the weather does not affect the appearance of populations of a color other than scarlet: such populations appear in the same places in different years. In this case, apothecia (fruiting bodies) with normal pigmentation and with albinism can grow side by side, on the same branch.
Saprophyte on rotting sticks and deciduous logs. Sometimes the wood is submerged in the ground, and then it seems that the mushrooms are growing directly from the ground. It grows in forests, on the sides of paths or in open glades, in parks.
There are mentions that the fungus can grow on humus-rich soil, without binding to woody debris, on moss, on rotten leaves or on root rot. When growing on decaying wood, it prefers willow and maple, although other deciduous trees, such as oak, are quite satisfied with it.
Season and distribution
Some sources indicate that during a prolonged autumn, the mushroom can be found in late autumn, before frost, and even in winter (December).
Distributed in the northern regions of Europe and in the eastern regions of the United States.
Grows in small groups.
Just like Sarkoscif alai, this species is a kind of indicator of "ecological cleanliness": in industrial regions or near highways, sarcoscifs do not grow.
The mushroom is edible. One can argue about the taste, since there is no obvious, well-expressed mushroom or some kind of exotic taste here. However, despite the small size of the fruiting bodies and rather thin flesh, the texture of this flesh is excellent, firm, but not rubbery. Pre-boiling is recommended to soften the mushroom, not to boil down any harmful substances.
There are classifications where the Austrian sarcoscifa (like the scarlet one) are classified as inedible and even poisonous mushrooms. There are no confirmed cases of poisoning. There is also no data on the presence of toxic substances.
Scarlet sarcoscine (Sarcoscypha coccinea), very similar, it is believed that outwardly it is almost indistinguishable from the Austrian. The main difference, on which, it seems, at the time of this writing, mycologists agree: the scarlet region has a more southern habitat, and the Austrian one is more northern. Upon closer inspection, these species can be distinguished by the shape of the hairs on the outer surface.
At least two more very similar sarcoscifs are mentioned:
Sarcoscypha occidentalis (Western Sarcoscifa), its fruit body is smaller, about 2 cm in diameter, and there is a pronounced rather high leg (up to 3 centimeters in height), found in Central America, the Caribbean and Asia.
Sarcoscypha dudleyi (Sarcoscif Dudley) - North American species, the color is closer to crimson, prefers to grow on the woody remains of linden.
Microstomes, for example, Microstoma protractum, are very similar in appearance, intersect ecology and season, but they have smaller fruiting bodies.
Orange Aleuria (Aleuria aurantia) grows in the warm season
Photo: Nikolay (NikolayM)