Spring Hazelcup (Encoelia furfuracea)
Having eagerly jumped at Clare’s proposition, “Your challenge is to find them somewhere else now”, I then stopped and really thought about it in more detail. Just how hard was this going to be? Did I stand any chance? Well, as luck would have it, fortunately not too hard as after looking at more Common Hazel Corylus avellana than I care to remember and, fortunately just a short drive down the road from where I live, I managed to find four small groups in private woodland on the outskirts of Kirdford, West Sussex.
As with many things in life, once you know what you are looking for e.g. its size, shape, colour, habitat, season, etc., things start to get a little bit easier. However, although widespread, E. furfuracea is generally regarded as an uncommon find in Britain. This irregularly shaped cup fungus can be found during the winter and spring. Typically clustered in small groups on the dead wood of C. avellana it has occasionally been recorded on Common Alder Alnus glutinosa.
My thanks to Clare, Jim and Dawn for their guidance in the first instance …
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 308, fig. p. 309.