Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cup fungus Cookeina

We came across this small colourful fungus a few times in the forests, always in very damp wood or logs. According to R.N. Weinstein, there are 7 species of Cookeina distributed in subtropical and tropical regions worldwide although a couple more have been since his paper in 2002.

This particular one, a dream for photographers, appeared to be C. sulcipes and is widely distributed in tropical Americas, Africa and Asia. It is an edible species and efforts are made to farm them as we speak. The spores are located inside the "cups" - or apothecium for purists - and are released in one go upon maturity. Someone actually counted that 3-24 million spores are released each time from an apothecium !

The colour can be variable - we found a paler variety shown below in Johore.

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