Scarlet Elfcup - Sarcoscypha austriaca 

Scarlet Elfcup - Sarcoscypha austriaca

Edible mushroom - novice identification

Other common names: Red Foot, Scarlet Elfcap, Scarlet Cups, Moss Cups, Scarlet Cup, Fair Bath

Scientific name meaning: From the Greek words Sarkos and Scyph, meaning flesh and cup, respectively. And Austrica, meaning of Austria, given by the scientist who named it 

Spore print: White to pale yellow

Habitat and season

A saprobic fungus found on dead hardwood, particularly if the wood is covered in moss. Can be found throughout winter and spring

Growth and fruit body

A cup fungus that can appear as individuals or in groups. The inside of the cup is red, while the outside is a pale pink. A small stem is present - up to 0.5cm tall. There is no discernible smell or taste. When spores by gentle tapping a released or puffing or popping sound can be heard

Possible lookalikes

Pretty much indistinguishable to the naked eye from the Ruby Elfcup (Sarcoscypha coccinea), which is also edible. Could also be confused with Orange Peel Fungus (Aleuria aurantia) but this is orange rather than red and also edible

Use as a food Edible when cooked - it retains its colour. Doesn't have the strongest flavour, but can be filled or stuffed 

Hazards Some sources describe Scarlet Elfcups as inedible or even suspect, but we have been unable to find scientific reference for this

Other uses None known

Use in medicine Used by the Oneida Tribe as a styptic - particularly for umbilical cord healing. The mushrooms were dried and ground into a powder.

If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Importance to other species Fed on by slugs and snails

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!