Bird’s Nest Fungi

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Nidulariaceae is a family of fungi which is also known as bird’s nest fungi. the common name becomes quite obvious during the later stage of the fruiting body (peridium). This is when the lids open up to reveal the “eggs”, which are seed-like sacs containing spores known as peridioles. In general, four or more perioles occupy each “nest”. Some species contain forty or more.

The spore sacs are dispersed by raindrops propelling them out of the peridium. They contain a sticky substance which allows them to attach to whatever they land on.

I believe the species shown in the slideshow is Crucibulum laeve. This species grows best on dead deciduous wood. I only found bird’s nest fungus on one red elderberry branch in my back woods. When I first discovered this fungus, none of the “eggs” were exposed. However, the next week when I went to check on them, some peridioles were visible.

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3 Responses to Bird’s Nest Fungi

  1. montucky says:

    Fascinating! I’ve never seen those before.


  2. Bruce Hagen says:

    Rick, we have a similar saphrophobe (saphrophyte) here in Northern California. It’s called the artillery fungus because it ejects its seed (spore) sacs up to 16 feet.. I’d get calls from people complaining about round paintlike spots of on their houses and cars, etc. I noticed the same mysterious spots on the siding of my house. They are really glued in place and hart to remove. So I started looking around for the culprit and found a fungus growing in mulch nearby that looked much like what you photographed. I’ll email you an image.


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