Orange Cup (Melastiza cornubiensis)
Despite its rich orange-red appearance M. cornubiensis (Pezizales: Pyronemataceae) is a small ascomycete fungus that is easily overlooked. The cup-shaped fruiting bodies, growing to a maximum of around 5-15mm across, become irregular, undulating and somewhat contorted where several fruiting bodies are crowded together. Found either solitary or in small groups M. cornubiensis is an uncommon find despite having a widespread distribution. The above images are from a small colony photographed in the Arun Valley, West Sussex.
My thanks to Nick Aplin for the above photomicrograph which shows, left to right, (i) ascospores stained in lactophenol cotton blue (note complete reticulum), (ii) immature ascus in water, (iii) paraphyses in water and (iv) marginal hair in water.
Buczacki, S., Shields, C. and Ovenden, D. (2012). Collins Fungi Guide: The most complete field guide to the mushrooms and toadstools of Britain & Ireland. London: HarperCollins, p. 610, fig. p. 611.
Phillips, R. (2006). Mushrooms. London: Pan Macmillan, p. 367, fig. p. 366, g.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 314, fig. p. 315.