White Egg Bird's Nest, Crucibulum laeve
Nidulariaceae or Bird's Nest Family

In habitat

Small mushroom, less than 3/4 inch across. When young resembles a little drum with a yellow membrane across the top as seen at bottom left. With maturity the membrane breaks down to reveal little bowls with flattened white round pill-shaped objects (the "eggs"). With age, the eggs are lost, leaving empty yellowish bowls.

Grows on and helps decompose small woody debris. Thus common on mulch. May be very common in Wildwood, but easily overlooked. The best place to find it would be around the Outdoor Classroom.

 

Mushroom
 

The yellow drumheads of young fungi and the white 'eggs" of mature ones make it easy to identify. Fluted bird's nest (Cyathus striatus) has grooves inside the nest, and dark grey eggs.

The "eggs" are called periodoles and contain the spores. Each is attached to the nest by a cord called the funiculus. When rain falls into the cup, the periodoles are splashed out and the funiculus breaks. The frayed funiculus is sticky -- as is the periodole -- so they generally gom onto something as they fly away. What happens next is not clear, since finding escaped periodoles in the wild is a daunting task, but eventually the spores are released from the periodole and infect woody debris.

 

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