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Sarcoscypha austriaca tomentum?

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:51 pm
by NickWood
I've read that one way to distinguish S. austriaca (Scarlet Elfcup) from the very similar S. coccinea (Ruby Elfcup) is to examine the hairs in the of tomentum (the matted felt of the outer surface). The hairs of the former are coiled, the hairs of the latter are straight. (Overall structure, spores and cup sizes are otherwise very similar.)
Unfortunately, I left the cup I collected overnight and it dried out, but I endeavoured to take samples to identify the hairs.
The grainy, greyish shot (2) is an EDF composite image. Are these hairs?
The more colourful image (3) appears to show a coiled hair more clearly. Is this the case?
Hoping you can help... Nick
PS: I've had great difficulties loading three images. Each time I 'Submit', two images are deleted and "unavailable". Not sure what I'm doing wrong, but as a workaround, I've attached a composite image. Not great but will have to do until I sort out the upload problem.

Re: Sarcoscypha austriaca tomentum?

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:17 pm
by Lancashire Lad

There is still some debate as to whether the shape of the excipular hairs is a reliable enough characteristic to separate S.austriaca from S.coccinea.

Some people are convinced that there are the two species, and some remain convinced that what is being seen is merely minor variations within one species.

However, whichever side of that line you fall on, it has to be said that some finds of Sarcoscypha definitely do exhibit the characteristic of very curly excipular hairs, whereas others have much straighter hairs.

On the basis of the very curly hairs in your photos, I'd be happy that you had S. austriaca.

Here's one of my photos from 2013, which shows the very curly excipular hairs from the S.austriaca orange colour variant.
(See article beginning on page 6 of ... t%2030.pdf) : -
Image06 2013-01-17_Excipular_Hairs_200x.jpg
Sarcoscypha austriaca (orange colour variant) - curly excipular hairs.

PS: There is an ongoing problem with the UK Fungi website, with respect to uploading multiple images.
This recent post gives a bit more info, and a workaround: -


Re: Sarcoscypha austriaca tomentum?

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:47 pm
by NickWood
Many thanks, Mike, for the very informative response, confirmation of S. austriaca, and for the link to the article (very informative, too, with amazing images).
Thanks, too, for letting me know about the ongoing problem with the website - good luck getting it sorted!
All the best... Nick