Each month we'll be highlighting one mushroom that can be found in WNC during the current month. This is in an attempt to help members or guests learn our local mushrooms. It will also be noted whether the mushroom is edible, ill advised, or poisonous.
The common brown cup mushroom of springtime, found growing on rich woodland soil or decaying wood, is imaginatively known as the Common Brown Cup, or Peziza phyllogena (formerly P. badioconfusa). This species is, wait for it . . . brown inside and out, perhaps tinged with pink, purple, or olive. Size ranges from 3-15 cm. The cups flatten and become raggedy with age due to thin, brittle flesh. Inner surfaces are smoother than the granular exterior texture. There is no stalk, but the point of attachment to the mycelium hidden in the food source is small and central. Smell and taste are not distinctive. Blowing across the top of the cup might release a smoky puff of spores. Common Brown Cups are said to be edible, but I haven’t tried them.
Photo credit: Mike Hopping