Birdsnest Fungi

These are very specialised for the dispersal of their spores.

Nidula niveotomentosa (Henn.) Lloyd

This species has a woolly covering on the outside of the cup, hence its common name “woolly bird’s nest”. The peridioles are pale brown. Diam: 5–7 mm.

They are very small cup-like structures which look like a tiny bird's nest covered by a thin skin or lid. When this lid peels back, you can see things that look like eggs, but they are actually little bundles (peridioles) of compressed spores. These are covered with a sticky substance so that when they are splashed out by rain drops, they stick to the the suface they land on.

The furry (woolly) covering of these fungi makes it easily distinguishable.

Crucibulum laeve (Huds.) Kambly

A world-wide genus. The outside of the fungus is felty and a pale cream-brown colour. The cups are 4–7 mm in diameter. The peridioles are a cream colour.

Usually found on twigs in the bush. When raindrops land in the cup the "eggs" (peridioles) are flung out with the splashes and they attach themselves to anything they can with a whip-like tail that had been holding the egg in the cup.

Cyathus novae-zeelandiae Tul. & C. Tul.

These are taller than the other two species, and the outside has a brown hairy appearance, while the inside of the cup is striped vertically.

The peridioles of the Cyathus are similar to those of Crucibulum laeve in that they also are attached by threads.


Cyathus stercoreus (Schwein.) De Toni

Usually found on animal manure in pasture. The outside of the nest is shaggy, the inside is grey with pale concentric lines and the peridioles are dark grey. Diam: 5–7 mm.

Cyathus striatus (Huds.) Willd.

These differ from C. novazelandiae in that the outside "hairy" covering is grey, the stripes inside are concentric, and the peridioles are a dark grey. Diam: 5–7 mm. This species is found worldwide, and is common on woodchip in gardens.


fungi index