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Microstoma floccosum

Microstoma floccosum is a species in the Sarcoscyphaceae family of cup fungi. It is recognizable by its deep funnel-shaped, scarlet-colored fruiting bodies bearing white hairs on the exterior. Found in the United States and Asia, it grows on partially buried sticks and twigs of oak trees.



The diameter of the cup- or funnel-shaped fruiting bodies is 0.5 to 0.8 centimetres (0.2 to 0.3 in) in diameter; the margins of the cup are curved inwards when young.[1] Both the interior and exterior surfaces of the cup are scarlet red. The exterior surface is covered with stiff white hairs. Details of the hair structure may be seen with a magnifying glass: they are up to 1 mm long or more, translucent, thick-walled, rigid and more or less sword-shaped with simple, sharply diminishing bases. They are connected to the fruiting body at the junction of internal tissue layers called the medullary and ectal excipulums. When the hairs come in contact with an alkali solution of 2% potassium hydroxide, the thick walls of the base of the hair first swell in size and then dissolve, releasing the contents of the internal lumen.[2] The stem is cylindrical, and about 1 to 5 centimetres (0.4 to 2.0 in) long by 1–2 mm thick.

Microscopic characteristics

The spores are 20–30 by 14–16 µm; the asci (spore-bearing cells) are 300–350 by 18–20 µm.[3] The paraphyses (sterile, upright, basally attached filaments in the hymenium, growing between asci) are thin, slightly thickened at the tip and contain many red granules.[1]


One variant species has been described, M. floccosum var. floccosum, found in China and Japan, has larger spores than typical.[4] The fungus originally described as Microstoma floccosum var. macrosporum was recognized as an independent species in 2000 and renamed to Macrostoma macrosporum. It differs from M. floccosum by fruiting season, asci and ascospore size, and the ultrastructure of the hairs.[5]

Similar species

Microstoma apiculosporum is a species from Taiwan that has spores with short, sharply pointed tips.[6] Scutellinia scutellata has a shallow red cup, no stalk, and black hairs on only the edge of the cap margin. The stalked scarlet cup, Sarcoscypha occidentalis, has a shape, size and color that somewhat resemble M. floccosum, but it lacks any surface hairs, and the cup is not as deep.[7]

Habitat and distribution

A saprobic species, Microstoma floccosum grows scattered to clustered together, atttached to wood that is typically partially buried in the earth. A preference for both oak and Shagbark hickory has been noted.[1]

Microstoma floccosum has been collected from the United States,[1] India,[2] China,[4] and Japan.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Healy RA, Huffman DR, Tiffany LH, Knaphaus G. (2008) [1989]. Mushrooms and Other Fungi of the Midcontinental United States. A Bur Oak Guide (2nd. ed.). Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. ISBN 978-1-58729-627-7.
  2. ^ a b Pant DC, Tewari VP. (1973). "Chemical Reaction of the hairs of Microstoma floccosum". Mycologia 65 (1): 199–201. doi:10.2307/3757800. JSTOR 3757800.
  3. ^ Kanouse BB., Bessie B. (1948). "The genus Plectania and its segregates in North America". Mycologia 40 (4): 482–79. doi:10.2307/3755155. JSTOR 3755155.
  4. ^ a b Zhuang WY, Korf RP. (1989). "Some new species and new records of discomycetes in China". Mycotaxon 35 (2): 297–312.
  5. ^ a b Harada Y, Kudo S. (2000). "Microstoma macrosporum stat. nov., a new taxonomic treatment of a vernal discomycete (Sarcoscyphaceae, Pezizales)". Mycoscience 41 (3): 275–78. doi:10.1007/BF02489683.
  6. ^ Wang YZ. (2004). "A new species of Microstoma from Taiwan". Mycotaxon 89 (1): 119–22.
  7. ^ Roody WC. (2003). Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky. p. 470. ISBN 978-0-8131-9039-6. Retrieved 2009-08-09.


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