Ilmāra Tīrmaņa stāsti par dabu

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Ilmāra Tīrmaņa stāsti par dabu

Vai marts ir pavasara mēnesis?

Kas ir sarkanie kausiņi?

Heads 'cup' for February fungi

Take note – story published 1 year and 4 months ago

Winter is not an obstacle for the average Latvian to go mushrooming (but is it still winter, really?) In snowless patches in the forests, you can sometimes see a reddish cup-like formation. What you see is the scarlet elfcup (Sarcoscypha austriaca), says biologist Ilmārs Tīrmanis.

The name of the mushroom in Latvian – Austrijas agrene – suggests it is an 'early mushroom from Austria'. Indeed, these are sometimes thought to be the first fungi of spring, but often they spring up already in autumn or winter. So, according to Tīrmanis, "it is no surprise seeing them in February. It is not a surprise seeing them in November, December, or January, either."

The fungi are found in wettish places, especially near alder trees. They like to sit atop and under fallen branches, from which they feed.

The scarlet elfcup is an edible mushroom, but according to mushroomers, not very tasty, and is better looked at, not talked to.

The 'cups' can sometimes appear lopsided and cracked, says Tīrmanis, but perhaps that is how the elves like them. They grow up to five centimeters in diameter, and are usually scarlet, sometimes a little purplish. The outside of the cup can have orange, pinkish, and ochre tinges. So, though these shrooms might not bring much joy to the belly and despite the 'cup' appearance are unlikely to hold much liquid, you can certainly go look for alders in the forests and have a glance at its bright and shiny colors.

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