Cyathus striatus  (Fluted Birds Nest)

The fluted birds nest is a small but wide spread mushroom. It’s not a ‘typical’ mushroom shape with a cap and stem, but it is the fruiting body of a fungus, and that makes it a mushroom. I find it tremendously interesting that fungi can have so many unusual shapes. These little birds nests are appropriately called “splash cups”. In some species of birds nest fungi, including this one. The “eggs” are attached to the cup by a small cord of mycelium. The cord is sticky and covered in spores. When rain drops fall into the cup and splash out the “eggs” the spore covered cord finds itself draped over the surrounding plants, leaves and twigs. Since this fungi is saprobic (it feeds on dead wood and organic matter), the spores which are attached to the cord, begin to grow into whatever organic matter the cord is draped over.