Scarlet Elf Cup Sarcoscypha (likely austaca)


Ascomycete Family: Sarcoscyphaceae.


Sarcoscypha austriaca commonly referred to as Scarlet Elfcup (and the macroscopically almost identical Ruby Elfcup Sarcoscypha coccinea) so therefore needs differentiation by means of spores

Caps Cups are irregular and have a smooth, bright red hymenial (fertile) inner surface and a felted outer surface. Cup diameter = 2 to 7cm when fully expanded; height typically 1 to 2cm. The outer (infertile) surface is paler than the inside, sometimes pinkish but often with an ochre tinge. It is covered in minute hairs, which take the form of tangled coils. The curly nature of these hairs is a crucial identifying characteristic, but to see it clearly requires strong magnification. Edges of young cups are often slightly incurved.

Has a Short stipe or stem, up to 3.5cm long and 0.3-0.7cm wide, frequently buried in moss or leaf litter. The stipe is the same colour as the outer surface of the cup or somewhat pale

Spore Description

Spore Print White

Ellipsoidal, 24-32 x 12-14µm; occ budding secondary conidial (asexual) spores from flattened or double-humped ends of mature ascospores. Uusually many small (typically 1 to 3µm in diameter) oil droplets distributed randomly in immature spores but often becoming concentrated towards the ends of the spores once fully mature


Appears in winter on dead twigs in damp, shady places, usually partly buried in moss.