Urnula craterium

Urnula craterium
Image Courtesy of Dan Guravich
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Group of Fungi: Cup Fungi

Family: Sarcosomataceae

Latin Name: Urnula craterium (Schwein.) Fr.

Common Name: Devilís Urn

Description: Club-shaped structure when young but opening and expanding to become urn-shaped, 1 1/4–1 1/2 in (3–6.5 cm) wide and 1 5/8–2 1/2 in (4–6.5 cm) tall, tough and leathery, inner surface dark brown to black and smooth, outer surface dark brown and scruffy, margin notched or ragged; stalk 3/8–1 in (1–2.5 cm) long, approximately 1/4 in (0.5 cm) thick, black; spores hyaline in mass.

Biological Role: Both a decomposer of wood and a parasite of trees such as oak.

Habitat: On decaying branches and buried wood of broadleaf trees, especially oak; usually occurring in groups.

Geographical Distribution: Found throughout North America and other regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

Comments: This is one of the first relatively large fungi to appear in the spring but is often overlooked because of its brown color, which blends in with the decaying wood upon which the fruiting bodies occur.

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