Bird's Nest Fungi

Distinguishing characters for the genera are ...

Crucibulum: receptacle cylindrical, with cap when you, eggs dull white, with short cord attached to eggs. Cyathus: receptacle cone shaped, with cap when young, eggs dark brown/black, with long cord attached to eggs. Nidula: cylindrical or cone shaped, with cap, eggs in gelatinous matrix, no cord attached to eggs. Nidularia: receptacle round shaped, no cap, eggs light brown in gelatinous matrix, no cord attached to eggs.

Examples of the New Zealand species:

Some with incorrect identified I think.

Crucibulum simile,

Cyathus striatus

Cyathus olla

Cyathus stercoreus - a blackish species on dung. Not yet recorded on NW.

Cyathus novae-zeelandiae is probably same as C. striatus. The reported differences are that C. nz is supposed to be ridged to only about halfway down the cup and in C. striatus the ridges go all the way. In C. nz the spores are reported to be 7-12um wide and in C. nz only 5-6um wide. The outer surface of C. nz black. I suspect all these differences are just developmental. Cyathus colensoi and C. hookeri are probably just different stages of development of C. olla. C. hookeri was originally described from India. Sequenced collections labelled C. colensoi from India and C. hookeri from China have been shown to be the same as  C. olla from Canada, China and USA (in my opinion). (Zhao et al, Mycologia, v99, pp385-395, 2007).

Nidula candida Note the outer surface of cup is white and not tan. Receptacle usually 4-6mm high.

Nidula niveotomentosa  Note the outer surface of cup is tan and not white. Receptacle usually 10-15mm high.

Nidularia deformis

Update: 4th Jan 2023. This entry is now out of date. Current sequence data suggests all  NZ records of 'C. laeve', whether from natural or indigenous habitats, are the same species and it is not the northern C. laeve. The correct name for the NZ species is C. simile, and it is an indigenous species. Cythus olla, Cyathus stercoreus and Nidularia deformis are all confirmed by sequence and all are probable introductions. Above I suggested C. nz and C. striatus were synonyms, and that was subsequently supported in this paper: Molecular systematics and taxonomic overview of the bird's nest fungi (Nidulariaceae) - ScienceDirect. However, recent sequencing of another collection labelled C. nz indicates it is not the same as C. striatus. The data suggest PDD 76442 (cited in the paper as as C. nz) was incorecctly identified and is really C. striatus. So, the current data indicate we do have the indigenous Cyathus novae-zeelandiae as well as the introduced Cyathus striatus and I was incorrect about the synonymy. C. nz does seem to have a black outer covering and different sized spores, but more sequenced-based sampling is neeed to clarify the morphological boundaries because intermediates seem to exist. The degree of striation/ridges inside the cup does not seem to be relevent. Our version of Nidula niveotomentosa is also incorrectly named and not the same as the original species from the USA. It needs a new name. A recombination of  the NZ name Crucibulum vulgare var. lanosum  would be appropriate (as Nidula lanosum). NZ material of  Nidula candida remains to be sequenced and I suspect some confusion needs unravelling with the use this name in NZ. So, from a phylogenetic perspective, NZ Bird's Nest Fungi remain a work in progress.

Posted on April 13, 2015 12:52 AM by cooperj cooperj


The links for N. candida goes to N. niveotomentosa and for N. niveotomentosa to N. candida. The descriptions are also transposed.

Posted by petragloyn 7 months ago (Flag)

fixed I think. I don't generally maintain these older posts. The taxonomy has moved on.

Posted by cooperj 7 months ago (Flag)

Yes fixed.

Posted by petragloyn 7 months ago (Flag)

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