Scarlet Elfcup - Sarcoscypha austriaca


Cup shaped, inner surface smooth, scarlet, outer surface whitish to pinkish, attached to the substrate by a thick stem, flesh is white firm and tough with a thin red layer lining the cup. On microscopic examination the hairs on the outside of the cup are curly or corkscrew shaped. Spore print white, spores 24-32 x 12-14μm. 

Similar Species

The Ruby Elfcup, Sarcoscypha coccinea, is generally smaller, but the sizes of the two species overlap. Positive identification requires microscopy of mature spores released from asci - square-ended in S. austrica and narrower with rounded ends in S. coccinea.

Photo ID?

This species is found growing on fallen pieces of dead hardwood among mosses and leaf litter in damp habitats.

When to see it

Late winter to early spring.

Life History

Grows on rotting mossy wood fragments in very damp to wet conditions.  Locally it fruits most profusely in calcareous habitats.

UK Status

Widespread and common.

VC55 Status

Recorded frequently in suitable conditions.  May be under-recorded as the main fruiting period is February to April.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map

UK Map