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Sarcoscypha austriaca or possibly Sarcoscypha austriaca var.lutea?
Michael Valentine, 17-01-2013 21:34
Hello,

This is my first post, which hopefully will comply with all forum rules.


These bright orange fruitbodies were initially found on Saturday 12th january 2013, in Lancashire, England, growing amongst normal red ones. (Sometimes immediately adjacent - almost touching).

After microscopy, and never having seen such orange variants before, I suspected they may be Sarcoscypha austriaca var. lutea, but when I discovered that S.austriaca var. lutea has only one British record, I began to doubt my ID, and have since returned to the site, taken more photos, collected more examples, and carried out more microscopy.

Growing on moss covered trunks/branches which were felled several years ago. I found it impossible to be certain as to the specific tree species, as there are small Oak, Sycamore, Alder, & Ash in the immediate vicinity.

Spores measured between 26.8-36.6µ in length, x 11.2-15.4µ in width.
Excluding largest & smallest spores, average of 30 measured spores was 31.6x13.6µ
Average Q value being 2.32
Good numbers of the spores can be seen to have the typical "blunt" ends and multi guttulate droplets, suggestive of S.austriaca.
All spore measurements were taken from spores dropped during overnight spore prints directly onto microscope slides.

Excipular hairs were found to be very curly, reinforcing my opinion that these are certainly S.austriaca rather than S.coccinea (Images x200):-

Reading Mr. Hans-Otto Baral's  website with regards to albinism in Sarcoscypha species, and that Orange variants can appear in "normal" S.austriaca now leads me to believe that these are of that type, but could they yet be S.austriaca var. lutea?  
 
I shall be very grateful for any replies or opinions.

NB: Please note that although these orange cups were growing alongside normal red ones, the red fruitbodies in the first photo were placed there for visual colour comparison.  

Kind regards
Michael Valentine

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Hans-Otto Baral, 17-01-2013 21:52
Hans-Otto Baral
Re : Sarcoscypha austriaca or possibly Sarcoscypha austriaca var.lutea?
Dear Michael

undoubtedly you have S. austriaca, considering spore shape and guttulation, and undulating hairs. The colour variants do not deserve any taxonomic value, in my opinion. They appear within a population and might originate from genetic defects.


Are you aware hat your fourth photo shows only dead spores while the fifth only living? Do you remember how differently you treated the spores in the two images? You can also see that the dead spores are on average distinctly narrower.


Abou the host trees you can easily distinguish ash and oak from alder, acer and willow by the large pores arranged in rings. A closer look on a cross break may also distinguish among these five genera.


If you keep the apos for some days in a moist box at room temperature you may obtain germinating spores with the characteristic conidia.


Zotto


?

Michael Valentine, 17-01-2013 22:16
Re : Sarcoscypha austriaca or possibly Sarcoscypha austriaca var.lutea?
Hello Zotto,

Thank you very much for this reply. 

I do not have a great deal of experience (especially with regard to the microscopy), and was not actually aware that the image shows dead spores.

The fruitbodies from which these photos were made were collected at the same time, and the spores were obtained via overnight spore print onto microscope slides.  

The spores were mounted, and the photographs were taken within a few minutes of each other. - But each of the spore photos was from a separate fruitbody. 

In the one with the dead spores the mountant was plain water with the addition of Lactophenol Cotton Blue.

The other one was again mounted in plain water, but with the addition af a very minute amount of Congo Red.

The fruitbodies at time of collection had been subject to approximately two days of snow and frost, and some were quite frozen when collected. Could it be that one had been affected by temperature more than the other?


Kind regards,
Michael Valentine
Hans-Otto Baral, 17-01-2013 22:43
Hans-Otto Baral
Re : Sarcoscypha austriaca or possibly Sarcoscypha austriaca var.lutea?
Since you used lactophenol in the one photo that explains everything. That reagent kills spores immediately. You can easily test that, when you mount spores in water and add lactophenol to the edge. When it reaches the spores you can see that the fusion of the oil drops takes place within a few seconds.

Zotto
Michael Valentine, 17-01-2013 22:54
Re : Sarcoscypha austriaca or possibly Sarcoscypha austriaca var.lutea?
Dear Zotto,

Once again, many thanks for this reply.

I shall keep this information regarding lactophenol Cotton Blue in mind when preparing any future spore mounts & photographs.


Best regards,
Michael Valentine
Michael Valentine, 22-01-2013 14:59
Re : Sarcoscypha austriaca or possibly Sarcoscypha austriaca var.lutea?
Hello,

I did as suggested and kept several apothecia in moist conditions during the past week.
Under microscopy today, many germinating spores could be seen with conidia:-


Best regards,
Michael Valentine   


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Hans-Otto Baral, 22-01-2013 15:01
Hans-Otto Baral
Re : Sarcoscypha austriaca or possibly Sarcoscypha austriaca var.lutea?
Great, just what was to expect :-)

Zotto