This birds nest fungi is also known as “Dung-loving Bird’s nest fungus”, although luckily this sample was found in mulch not dung. The species name stercoreus, translates to “filth” in latin. This saprobe is widely distributed in North America and commonly found on wood chips, organic debris, and dung. I found this specimen in mid-November on the south end of campus. In general, this species can be found anytime.
The nests are 1 cm high and less than 1 cm wide, with an exterior tan to golden-brown or reddish brown and shaggy. The interior of the nest is smooth, becoming dark gray often blackish in age. There are several peridioles (eggs) in each nest, each 1-2mm in diameter and smooth almost lentil-like. Spores inside peridioles are mostly round to oval, thick-walled, and hyaline.
This specimen had not yet developed spores inside the eggs, but a cross section shows the tough outer surface and fleshy interior where spores would develop (pictured below).
Kuo, M. (2014, February). Cyathus stercoreus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/cyathus_stercoreus.html
Arora, D. (1986). Mushrooms Demystified (2nd ed.). Berkley: Ten Speed Press.12.04.16