Garden Bits / Main Index / previous / next

Birds' Nest Fungus

by Valerie (May 23, 2000)
revised August 21, 2003
newly emerged birds' nest fungusOf the several types of fungi that grow in our yard, the most unusual looking is the birds' nest fungus (Cyathus stercoreus). This little mushroom grows on bits of wood (mostly the mulch that I put around plants) right out in the open. Of course, like almost all the fungi around here, it needs a good rain to get it to fruit.

When the fungus first emerges, it looks like fuzzy bulbs with a white covering over the top, about 1/3 of an inch in diameter. It then splits open at the top to reveal the "eggs," which are actually the peridioles containing the spores. If all goes well, these are knocked out of the cup by water drops and eventually release their spores. The open cups are about 1/2 inch wide so one must look closely to see the details.

mature birds' nest fungus


Garden Bits / Main Index / previous / next