Spathularia flavida

Thank you to Anne (aka annkelliott@Flickr) of Alberta for sharing today’s photograph with us (original image on Flickr via the BPotD Flickr Group Pool). Much appreciated!

One of the reasons I like fungi is because of their common names: who doesn’t love righteous red waxy cap, or black jelly roll, or insidious gomphidius? The fungus in today’s photograph? Yellow fan (pretty good), yellow fairy fan (better), or yellow earth tongue (perfect).

Spathularia flavida is a ascomycete, or sac fungus. Like other ecologically successful spore-producing organisms, it has a broad distribution that spans continents, with occurrences in Britain, India, Germany, Turkey and montane & northern parts of North America (though Michael Kuo implies it is restricted to North America — perhaps modern phylogenetic studies have revealed multiple species where there was previously thought to have been one?). Assuming one species (so I can use the singular), it is a species of coniferous forests; a close look at the photograph will reveal some conifer needles.

More photographs of Spathularia flavida are available via the Fungi of Saskatchewan and a Germany gallery of fungus photographs.

Spathularia flavida

11 responses to “Spathularia flavida”

  1. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    Oh boy, a fungus among us!
    Yellow earth tongue, indeed.
    It looks delicious, although I understand it isn’t edible.

  2. Elizabeth

    Every time a new fungus! How pretty, and how dainty. I take it that the surrounding greenery is a moss, so this thing is a modest but emphatic wee denizen. And strictly northern hemisphere?

  3. Michael F

    “(though Michael Kuo implies it is restricted to North America — perhaps modern phylogenetic studies have revealed multiple species where there was previously thought to have been one?)”

    Seems it was described from Switzerland (by Persoon in 1794); couldn’t find anything to suggest it has been split at all. Looks like Kuo just wasn’t citing the whole range.

  4. paula z.

    This beauty is currently growing out of my coir door mat on a west-facing stone doorstep!

  5. Troy Mullens

    I really like the fungus and lichens. I enjoyed this great photo and writeup. I have not seen this one so thanks for sharing.
    Come visit,
    Troy

  6. AnWi

    Paula Z., you probably have Peziza domiciliana in your mat–a little more brown and very common in household situations. I call it “carpet ears.”

  7. Jennifer Frazer

    I love this fungus. Like most ascomycetes, the spores are made in long sacs that in this species are about a tenth of a millimeter long and found on the blade of the tongue. I used to see it all the time in the woods back east but have yet, after five years, to see it in Colorado/Wyoming. But that doesn’t mean it’s not out here . . .

  8. phillip

    Mary Ann….funny thing i saw…
    i looked at these fungi….and said..’hang loose mother goose….there’s a fungus among us….’
    i said to myself….’ah…man…she took my line….lol…’
    Daniel….welcome home….!!!..welcome home…!!

  9. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    Phillip, sorry I took your line!
    I saw that line on a package of organic dried mushrooms, and I’ve been waiting for weeks for the chance to use it. :o)

  10. Alison

    I also recently saw this in Japan, just southeast of Tokyo.
    Great picture!

  11. Randa

    Oh, this gives my heart a thrill to see pictures such as these, to read these delightful names, and to learn more of the habits of fungi and lichens!
    If I may ask – can anyone recommend a book which they view as the ‘bible’ of fungi and lichens?

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