What: Scarlet Elf Cup (Sarcoscypha coccine)
Ecological notes: Yet another gloomy day with temperatures in the mid 40s. It rained on and off through out the day and the soil was soft with fresh rain. I stumbled off the trail and noticed these bright red cups underneath a layer of maple leaves. I had never seen this species before. The small fruit bodies have brilliant red insides with a lighter beige color on the outside. The texture is rough and the cup waves in and out small enough to fit a pigeons egg.
Where: The forest behind Shelburne Pond
Other notes: The edibility of the Scarlet Elf Cup is unknown but it was used as a medicinal plant throughout history by the Oneida Indians. The fungus was dried, ground up and used as a styptic. It was also used for the navels of newborns after the umbilical cord was cut in order to heal it properly. Fruit bodies were used under bandages made of tanned deer skin. The fruit bodies have also been a noted food source for rodents in the winter and slugs in the summer.