Scarlet Elf Cup
Scientific Name: Sarcocypha coccinea
These beautiful red crimson, cup shaped mushrooms can be found in very large numbers when established. They appear from December to April and grow on fallen dead wood usually covered in moss or hiding amongst the leaf litter. They grow from a fine stem that is covered in tiny white hairs that can’t be seen until they’re picked. They release their spores from the upper surface of the cupped cap.
Spore print: White ellipsoid/cylindrical
Growing on fallen dead wood in damp woodland mainly Ash, Willow, Hazel and Elm.
This mushroom with its amazing appearance and good earthy mushroom taste is enough to brighten up any dish it is added to. It keeps its colour, has a good texture when cooked and dries well. Some sources say this mushroom is inedible and some say it should be cooked although I have had no ill effects from eating raw. I would advise trying a small amount first cooked, to make sure it agrees with you, as you should when introducing anything new to your diet
There is another mushroom that looks almost identical, that grows in the same habitat and at the same time of year. It is called the Ruby elf cup, but this is also edible so no cause for concern.
When this mushroom release its spores they can be seen like a puff of smoke, and if you listen carefully a popping puffing sound can be heard.