Birdsnest Fungi

These are very specialised for the dispersal of their spores.

Nidula niveotomentosa

(woolly birdsnest fungi)

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

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

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

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


Cyathus stercoreus

This species is found on animal manure.

Cyathus striatus

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. This species is found worldwide, and is common on woodchip in gardens.