Gateway to the Classics: Handbook of Nature Study: Flowerless Plants by Anna Botsford Comstock
Handbook of Nature Study: Flowerless Plants by  Anna Botsford Comstock

The Scarlet Saucer


The Scarlet Saucer
(Sarcocypha Coccinea)

The heart of the child, searching the woods for hepaticas—woods where snow banks still hold their ground on north slopes—is filled with delight at finding these exquisite saucerlike fungi. They are more often found on fallen rotting branches which are more or less buried in leaves, and there are likely to be several of different sizes on the same stick. When they grow unhindered and while they are young, they are very perfectly saucer-shaped and range from the size of a pea to an inch or two across. But the larger they are the more likely are they to be distorted, either by environment or by the bulging of rapid growth. The under side of the saucer is beautifully fleshlike in color and feeling and is attached at the middle to the stick. The inside of the saucer is the most exquisite scarlet shading to crimson. This crimson lining bears the spores in little sacs all over its surface.


Scarlet saucer.


1. Where did you find the fungus?

2. What is the shape of the saucer? How large is it? Is it regular and beautiful or irregular and distorted?

3. What is the color inside?

4. What is the color outside?

5. Turn the one you bring in bottom side up—that is, scarlet side down—on a piece of white paper, and see whether you can get a spore harvest.

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