Out in the woods

“Out of this wood do not desire to go:
Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no”
      from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – W. Shakespeare

What else better on the weekend than a fast incursion into the woods, especially knowing that bad weather is expected this week? Mosses, lichens and various fungi provide so many colours at this time of year and we should appreciate them more.

This is the first time I found a scarlet cup mushroom, Sarcoscypha spp. (I think this one is an immature Scarlet pixie cup – S. occidentalis). It proves to be a most interesting and also ornamental genus with conspicuous fruiting bodies, brightly colored in red or yellow; they grow on dead wood, mostly on damp branches or twigs of hardwood trees, sometimes covered in moss, but not necessarily.
(you can read here the wiki stub if interested: Sarcoscypha)

Sarcoscypha occidentalis

Sarcoscypha occidentalis – Scarlet pixie cup

Because they are considered elf and fairies ‘cups’, although it was very tempting to bring the wood stick home with me, I was afraid of the wood’s queen fairy repercussions. I look fw to see it ‘grown up’ in early spring!

The lack of snow on the steeper hills also allowed for more Hepatica scouting :) and, as always, there is something new to find, like this Hepatica with extra lobed leaves, and nice violet reverse, which fits more into H. americana than H. acutiloba, but I have to do some careful measurements in the spring to tell for sure. As you can see, it has its own little space at the base of an old maple.

More wonderful clumps up the hill, looking as if they have not already been a couple of times under a carpet of snow; just one image with H. acutiloba.

Hepatica acutiloba

Hepatica acutiloba in habitat – February

There is indeed a need for more Hepaticas in our northern gardens!

And I couldn’t remain in the woods as it started to snow again; see you next time…

8 replies
    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Thank you. It started to snow today and so they will be hiding again for a while. Hepatica americana and acutiloba are very tough plants actually; otherwise they wouldn’t grow so well here. The flowers have a delicate look indeed but people who treat them like ‘delicate plants’ in the garden and water or fertilize them too much make big mistakes.

  1. Tina
    Tina says:

    Such beautiful plants, those lichens and mosses. Not something I get to see much of here in Texas–except along the bathtub maybe, or neighbor’s pool. :) The turkey tail is especially fetching!

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      You’re funny! It makes sense you don’t have too much of these moisture lovers at your place. In the wild areas may grow some of those lichens we’ve seen in dry areas of Mexico.

  2. Julie
    Julie says:

    I loved your foray into the woods, at this time of year there’s still much to enjoy, the Sarcoscypha occidentalis – Scarlet pixie cup is interesting, your link said found in Europe too, but I can’t find a reference to it being here in the UK. Either way, I haven’t seen one before but would like to!

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Yes, as long as there is a window of nice weather is plenty to see. I had to research about Sarcoscypha myself. Most references are to S. coccinea – the scarlet elf cup.
      I only found a thin stick with three bodies on it too, that’s why I showed only a close-up (and it’s an immature one). I really hope to find more in the spring; have seen nice
      pictures from gardens with the scarlet cups growing close to snowdrops and such!

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