These fungi are very unique and easily distinguishable to the trained and untrained eye. They are most often referred to as the “Bird’s Nest Fungi” for obvious reasons: their fruiting bodies resemble tiny egg-filled bird’s nests. The cuplike “nests”, called peridia, contain spore-filled “eggs”, called periodoles. This group of fungi disperse their spores by “splashing”, meaning that they depend on raindrops to strike the nest and project the eggs containing the spores out onto twigs, leaves, soil, etc. Fungi in this family are saprotrophic so they are typically found on decomposing organic matter, such as decaying wood, mulch, etc. The decomposing matter is their source of nutrition.
Crucibulum is probably the most frequently-encountered genus of bird’s nest fungi in northeast America. Members of this genus of fungi, as well as other similar genera, are termed “bird’s nest fungi” because their fruiting bodies resemble small egg-filled bird’s nests. These bird’s nests are often called “splash cups” because dispersal of their spores occurs by “splashing” out of the cup when rained on. The spores are contained in the “egg” structures, which are a hard, waxy shell. These fungi are saprophytic, meaning they will be found on dead organic matter such as decaying trees and mulch, from which they obtain their nutrients.
Kuo, M. (2014, February). Crucibulum laeve. Retrieved from http://www.mushroomexpert.com/crucibulum_laeve.html
Emberger, G. (2008). Crucibulum laeve. Retrieved from https://www.messiah.edu/Oakes/fungi_on_wood//bird's%20nest%20fungi/species%20pages/Crucibulum%20laeve.htm
MSU Gardens: N 42*43"25' W 84*28"24'