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March, 2018’s species of the month: Sarcoscypha austriaca

Scarlet Elfcap

Scarlet Elfcap, Monkmead Wood, West Sussex (26 February 2017) Photo: Mark Colvin

Sarcoscypha austriaca

Photo-microscopy images of Sarcoscypha austriaca ascospores

Habitat and distribution
Sarcoscypha austriaca or Scarlet Elfcup is a widespread species that likes damp woodland with Salix and Alnus and is often found on moss-covered logs of these species near standing water. Unlike many of the other larger more colourful fungi, this species starts to appear at the beginning of the year and tends to reach full maturity in late February to March.

Similar species
There are several very similar species in the genus which can only be separated with microscopy:

Without microscopy, Sarcoscypha collections should be submitted as Sarcoscypha sp. or Sarcoscypha cf. austriaca. Fresh collections for species determination are welcomed and can be sent to:

N. Aplin
21 Shetland Close
Pound Hill
West Sussex
RH10 7YZ


Previous species of the month:


Every month it is our aim to highlight a species that is “in-season” and, although not necessarily rare or difficult to identify, has been highlighted by our local recording groups as being somewhat under-recorded and for which new records would therefore be welcomed.

If you or your recording group are aware of species such as this then please contact Bob Foreman.