Public Description of Crucibulum laeve (Huds.) Kambly

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Name: Crucibulum laeve (Huds.) Kambly
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Description status: Unreviewed
 (Latest review: 2009-08-07 01:06:04 CDT (-0400) by nathan)

Taxonomic Classification:

Domain: Eukarya
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Basidiomycota
Class: Basidiomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Nidulariaceae

General Description:

Features include nearly spherical to short-cylindric thick-walled nest with coarsely tomentose lid, exterior yellowish to tawny or cinnamon brown becoming whiter or darker, and velvety becoming smooth, interior whitish to grayish or pale brown and shiny smooth, eggs whitish to light brownish, attached by a papilla to a cord which is joined to the inside of the cup, and growth on sticks, plant debris or sometimes dung.

Eggs: 0.1-0.2cm across, several, circular but flattened (lens-like or disc-like), “usually attached to nest by long thin cords”; “whitish to buff or with a very slight brownish tinge”, (Arora), 0.04cm thick, frequently 0.14cm across, occasionally 0.16-0.20cm across, variable in size, even in the same cup, attached to cup by cord which attaches to a nipple-like protuberance on egg; pale ochraceous, later becoming white, (Brodie), 0.15cm across, white, attached to cup by long thin cord, (Phillips), 5-12 per cup, lens-shaped, attached by short thread; ocher, (Courtecuisse), attached by coiled cords, (Lincoff(2)), eggs develop and stay for some time in a gelatinous liquid, (Lincoff(1))

Outer Surface: yellowish or tawny to cinnamon brown, often darker or whiter when old; velvety or shaggy, becoming nearly smooth when old, (Arora), alutaceous-yellow, tawny-yellow, becoming white when old; velvety, becoming smooth when old, (Brodie), yellow ocher to tawny brown; velvety, (Phillips), yellowish gray-brown; +/- fibrillose, (Courtecuisse)

Inner Surface: white to silvery, gray, or pale cinnamon; smooth, somewhat shiny, (Arora), very smooth, shiny, (Brodie), pallid; smooth, shiny, (Phillips)

Nest: 0.5-1.2cm broad at top, 0.5-1.2cm high, at first nearly round, becoming cylindric “then deeply cup-shaped (i.e. with a wide flaring mouth)”, “the rim more or less circular and covered at first by a hairy lid”, wall tough, persistent, (Arora), 0.5-0.8cm high, almost as wide at mouth, nearly spherical to short-cylindric, thick-walled, mouth entirely smooth; lid coarsely tomentose, (Brodie), 1cm across, 0.5-1cm high, narrowing downward; mouth at first covered by densely hairy lid, (Phillips), lid orange-yellow then white, (Courtecuisse)

Microscopic: spores (4)7-10 × 3-6 microns, elliptic, smooth, colorless, thin-walled, (Arora), spores 8.8 × 4.4 microns, elliptic, (Brodie), spores 4-10 × 4-6 microns, elliptic, smooth, (Phillips)


Found WA, OR, MT, also AL, CT, IN, KS, KY, MA, ME, NJ, NY, PA, VA, (White), CA (Arora), AK to Mexico, BC, AB, Chile, recorded from almost every country of Europe, Canary Islands, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, (Brodie), common in BC (Oluna Ceska pers. comm.), WA and OR (Lorelei Norvell, pers. comm.), photographed by Kit Scates-Barnhart in ID


Scattered to densely gregarious “on sticks, wood chips, nut shells, vegetable debris, humus, and manure”, (Arora), “on stems, twigs, old nut shells, chips, old matting, and on manure”, but not on soil or large logs, (Brodie), on decaying logs and twigs, July to October, (Phillips), spring to late fall (Lincoff(1))

Look Alikes:

Crucibulum parvulum is 1) smaller (mostly 0.2-0.4cm high instead of usually about 0.8cm high), 2) strongly obconic whereas C. laeve is mug-shaped, 3) wall of nest is brittle and thin, 0.02cm, instead of massive and thick, 0.025-0.05cm or more, 4) external color when young is white, gray or pale buff, never yellow, whereas C. laeve when young is some shade of yellow or brown, 5) external tomentum is very delicate and inconspicuous instead of velvety and conspicuous when young, 6) eggs are smaller, 0.05-0.125cm across instead of 0.125-0.225cm across, with a thin instead of moderately thick tunica, 7) epiphragm [lid of nest] is fragile with little tomentum, instead of being tough and covered with yellowish tomentum, and 8) spore size is 7-8 × 4-5cm instead of 8-10 × 4-6 microns, (Brodie(5)); Nidula species do not have a cord attaching the eggs to the nest, and eggs are darker, (Brodie(1)); Cyathus species have a cord attaching the eggs to the nest but it is not attached to a little nipple-like protuberance on the egg, and the eggs are darker, (Brodie(1))


Edibility: no (Phillips)


English Name(s): white-egg bird’s nest, yellow bird’s nest fungus, common bird’s nest fungus

Name Origin: from Latin meaning “smooth”, (Brodie)


Arora, David. 1986 Mushrooms Demystified Second Edition. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley. This is the best field guide overall, and a must for serious beginners. While it has most information about California, it is an excellent and humorously written source for all of North America. Some color photographs, more black and white photographs, good keys that are very useful for the Pacific Northwest. [Arora(1)]

Brodie, Harold J. 1975. The Bird’s Nest Fungi University of Toronto Press, Toronto and Buffalo. A definitive work on the subject. [Brodie(1)]

Courtecuisse, R., Duhem, B. 1995. Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain & Europe. Collins Field Guide Harper Collins, London. Over 1750 color illustrations with brief descriptions. [Courtecuisse(1)]

Lincoff, Gary. 1981. Simon and Shuster’s Guide to Mushrooms. Simon & Shuster, New York. A North American edition of a European book by G. Pacioni Illustrates and describes about 200 North American gilled species. [Lincoff(1)]

Lincoff, Gary. 1995. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. Knopf, New York. 750 color photographs with English names organized by color and shape, and a text that gives Latin names and descriptions. [Lincoff(2)]

Phillips, Roger. 1991. Mushrooms of North America. Little, Brown, & Co., Boston. Over 1000 color photographs, each having different angles and stages of the mushroom in question, also has concise descriptions of each. [Phillips(1)]

Schalkwijk-Barendsen, Helene M.E. 1991. Mushrooms of Western Canada. Lone Pine, Edmonton. Watercolors and brief descriptions, particularly strong for Alberta. [Schalkwijk-Barendsen(1)]

White, V.S. 1902. The Nidulariaceae of North America. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 29: 251-280. [White, V.S.(1)]

The content for this page is adapted from the MatchMaker database by Ian Gibson.

Description author: MatchMaker (Request Authorship Credit)
Description editors: Nathan Wilson, Douglas Smith