Common Names: Fluted bird's nest, splash cups
Sub-category: Birds nest
This fungus resembles a miniature bird's nest with numerous tiny 'eggs', or peridioles, are actually lens-shaped bodies that contain spores. The "nest", or peridium, is usually about 7 to 10 mm in height and 6 to 8 mm in width, but the size is somewhat variable and specimens have been found with heights and widths of up to 1.5 cm. The shape typically resembles a vase or inverted cone. The outer surface (exoperidium) ranges in color from slightly brownish to grayish buff to deep brown; the exoperidium has a shaggy or hairy texture (a tomentum), with the hairs mostly pointing downward. The inner surface of the peridium (the endoperidium) is striated or grooved, and shiny. Young specimens have a lid, technically called an epiphragm, a thin membrane that covers the cup opening. The epiphragm is hairy like the rest of the exoperidial surface, but the hairs often wear off leaving behind a thin white layer stretched across the lid of the cup. As the peridium matures and expands, this membrane breaks and falls off, exposing the peridioles within.
Although most frequently found growing on dead wood in open forests, it also grows on wood chip mulch in urban areas. The fruiting bodies are encountered from summer until early winter.