T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Cyathus striatus (Scaly Bird Nest)

Kingdom:Fungi
Division:Basidiomycota
Class:Basidiomycetes
Order:Agaricales
Family:Nidulariaceae
Genus:Cyathus
Species:C. striatus
Binomial name: Cyathus striatus
Common name: Scaly birdnest, Fluted bird's nest, Splash cups.

Cyathus striatus, is a common saprobic (deriving its nutrition from decaying organic material) bird's nest fungus. This fungus resembles a miniature bird's nest with numerous tiny "eggs". The eggs, or peridioles, are actually lens-shaped bodies that contain spores. C. striatus can be distinguished from most other bird's nest fungi by its hairy exterior and grooved (striated) inner walls. It is found growing on dead wood in open forests. The fruiting bodies are encountered from summer until early winter. The colour and size of this species can vary somewhat, but they are typically less than a centimetre wide and tall, and grey or brown in colour. A common name given to C. striatus is a splash cup which alludes to the method of spore dispersal: the sides of the cup are angled such that falling drops of water can dislodge the peridioles and eject them from the cup.

The life cycle of a bird nest fungi
Illustration by Elaine M. Collins, Palomar College; modified from Canadian Journal of Botany 29: 224-234, 1951.