An exciting find at this time of year is the "crimson cup" fungus, Sarcoscypha coccinea. The common name describes the brilliant crimson or orange-red color of the interior of the cup. The color is especially dramatic when the cup fungus is surrounded by snow.
The diameter of the cup usually ranges from 1-2 inches. The exterior of the fungus is white, as well as the slightly inturned upper edge of the cup.
The crimson cup fungus is usually found on partially buried branches in the woods. It's most commonly found on downed basswood. It may occur as a single specimen or in small groups.
The Plant Disease Clinic received two samples of the fungus for identification this year. A sample was submitted from Hamilton County in January, and a second sample was received from Lee County in February.
An image of crimson cup fungi can be found on the Plant Disease Clinic website .
This article originally appeared in the February 22, 2002 issue, p. 15.