Chlorociboria sp.

Had I known I was photographing something uncommonly encountered, I would have made more of an effort to get an exceptional photograph or two. Michael Kuo, the principal developer of the excellent states: “I had wanted to find the fruiting bodies of Chlorociboria for many years…the tiny mushrooms are seldom seen…This year I finally found the little blue-green cups, after years of searching.” My father spotted these growing on the rotting log of a fallen ash tree (I believe) while I was photographing a nearby Ramaria in October of 2008. I was immediately intrigued by the colour, as bluish-green is rare in nature (on land, anyway).

The common names of green stain fungus, green wood cup or green elf cup are applied to the two species of this genus found in North America (seventeen species of the genus worldwide, centre of diversity in New Zealand). Chlorociboria aeruginascens and Chlorociboria aeruginosa are not restricted to North America, though, as they are also found in other temperate regions of the world. It is extremely difficult to tell the two species apart by sight-identification (as noted by Michael Kuo: Chlorociboria). Identification with a high degree of certainty is easiest via a measurement of the diameter of the spores using a microscope.

Jessie Glaeser and Tom Volk provide an excellent account of Chlorociboria aeruginascens. Of particular interest is that the mycelium–the part of the fungus that grows in the substrate and forms the bulk of its mass–stains the substrate (wood) a green or bluish-green colour. This is done via the production and deposit of xylindein, a naphthoquinone. The green-stained wood was and is used by woodworking artists, occurring at least as early as 14th century Italy in intarsia panels (photographs on Tom Volk’s site). Tunbridge Ware, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, also made use of Chlorociboria-stained wood in the intricate designwork inlaid in these wooden objects.

Chlorociboria sp.
Chlorociboria sp.

15 responses to “Chlorociboria sp.”

  1. Karen Newbern

    I’ve seen wood stained this color before but never knew what might have caused it. Now I’ll need to watch for the fruiting bodies – very interesting!

  2. Julie

    How lucky you are to have encountered these delightful fungi. I have been searching in vain for years. So far, no luck. Thank you for the photos and write-up. I look forward to seeing more fungi photos! Julie

  3. Deb Lievens

    I wondered for years what caused the bluish stain on brush in the NH woods. Finally a mycologist IDed it for me. I see the stain all over. You would not have believed the exhibition when I finally found some good sized fruiting bodies. I was jumping up and down and exclaiming to my friend who knows me well, but is not a plant geek. Fortunately I had a camera. Since then I have seen tiny fruiting bodies on several occasions. But the decent sized ones are uncommon. For future reference, I found them on the underside of a piece of windfall, so now I always check both sides of branches. At the time, I don’t know what made me pick up the stick. My sighting was in September after two days of heavy rain. I’ve always assumed that was a factor. Good searching to lovers of that fabulous color.

  4. Tammy

    I’ve seen the stained wood before but not the fruiting bodies. Will have to keep an eagle eye peeled for them in the future! So pretty!

  5. Bonnie

    My goodness!

  6. Ann Rein

    I’ve seen the blue stain, too, but never saw the fruiting bodies. What an amazing color!

  7. phillip

    my new line of candy….’mushroom-mints’…

  8. elizabeth a airhart

    elves caps the little folk enjoy bright colors
    amazeing photos thank you the little blue caps
    that came out of the soil after a rain here in
    florida were amazeing our trees barks arealways
    growing and blooming with something
    daniel have you read of the really big
    giant carnivorous plant found in the central
    high land of the philippines named for
    david attenborough can even catch rats
    garden of eden web site

  9. beverley bowhay

    what an amazing world of unimaginable diversity and beauty we are fortunate enough to be sharing!!

  10. Don Fenton

    You can do what you choose,
    But don’t step on
    My blue-stained shoes!

  11. MercyJoy

    How pretty!! They look like little turquoise trumpets.
    I wonder… are the mycelium blue as well?

  12. sasha

    wow! so beautiful
    fungi are a gateway organisims!
    pura luz pura vida
    from costa rica

  13. aphexZero

    That’s why those Avatar guys look so strange…

  14. Hookah Happiness

    Beautiful images. I have lots of these in my yard.

  15. billbarnes

    Saw this in Maine in June around rotted logs , very striking color , not one to forget .

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