domicile cup fungus
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Strange Fungi That Appear In Your House!

  1. Domicile Cup Fungus at Basswood House  
2. Jim # Diane's Alien Fungus at Dana Point
3. Jim # Diane's Alien Fungus in San Diego

1. Domicile Cup Fungus That Resembles A Pancake

Domicile Cup Fungus (Peziza domiciliana)

One of the most ubiquitous fungi is the domicile cup fungus (Peziza domiciliana), a member of the large family Pezizaceae in the fungal class Ascomycota. The fruiting body is a cup-shaped ascocarp, morphologically the same structure produced by the fungal symbiont (mycobiont) of lichens and many other fungi. Spores are produced in a microscopic sac-like structure called an ascus, a unique structure found in cup fungi, yeast, leaf-curl fungi, truffles and many lichenized fungi called lichens.

These flattened objects along the baseboard of a carpeted hallway are not pancakes. They are domicile cup fungi (Peziza domiciliana), so named because of the shallow cup-like depression in the center and their common occurrence in houses.

Domicile cup fungi often occur in groups or they may be solitary. According to David Arora (Mushrooms Demystified, 1986), this remarkable fungus grows on an astonishing variety of substrates, including plaster, cement, sand, gravel, coal dust, fireplace ashes, etc. It can be found in cellars, greenhouses, shower stalls, damp closets, under porches, on wet rugs, behind refrigerators, around leaky water beds and David Arora's car.

The original ascocarps of domicile cup fungus (Peziza domiciliana) are somewhat cup-shaped when young. Older specimens become flattened or wavy (undulate), with a central depression and a short umbilicate stalk. They are fleshy and fragile, and rather difficult to remove in one piece.

Domicile cup fungus (Peziza domiciliana) removed from the wall of a bathroom in coastal San Diego County. A water pipe leak was apparently contributing to the vigorous growth of this unusual cup fungus.

Another unusual cup fungus called "dung cup" (Peziza vesiculosa). This species commonly grows on dung, manure and rotting straw in corrals, stables, gardens and other fertilized areas. When I filled my swimming pool with steer manure I had a nice population of this fungus!

2. Bizarre Inky Cap Fungus Emerging From Ceiling

Inky Cap Fungus (Coprinus)

Like other mushrooms of the fungal class Basidiomycota, members of the genus Coprinus have a variously shaped fruiting body (basidiocarp) with a spore-bearing head or cap on a slender stalk. What makes inky cap fungi of the genus Coprinus especially interesting is the self-digesting caps. Species in the genus Coprinus (also known as shaggy mane mushrooms) exhibit deliquescence, a phenomenon in which digestive enzymes dissolve the cap into a black, inklike fluid. You can actually write on paper with this black liquid. During the digestive process, the gills become curled back and more exposed, possibly aiding in the wind dispersal of spores.

Shaggy mane mushrooms (probably Coprinus comatus) before digesting themselves. In a few days after taking this photo, the caps dissolved into a black, inklike fluid.

What made the fungal encounter of Diane & Jim so fascinating is that it pushed through the ceiling of a condo in Dana Point, CA. I think their explanation of this strange phenomenon is a great description:

"... We saw something poking from the ceiling of our bedroom. We thought it was a spider at first but it seemed like an alien. We went to bed and decided to deal with it in the morning. When we awoke, the globules called hyphal knots I think, had exploded and mushrooms appeared. We decided to vacate the condo after water damage guys said that the problem was most likely longstanding. Then as we were ready to leave, we saw more globules poking through the ceiling. ... These caps were very hard and dry. Overnight they burst with sticky spores and the mushroom-like things grew out."

Imagine Seeing The Following Coming Out Of Your Ceiling!

How Does a Mushroom Break Through Ceiling

The process by which plant tissue expands in tight places involves water uptake through osmosis and imbibition, and an overall increase in size by cell division. Like a living, expanding wedge driven deeper and deeper into the crack, the opening is literally forced apart by tremendous pressures. Even a relatively soft-bodied puffball fungus can produce enough force to push through a thick layer of asphalt.

3. Another Coprinus Mushroom in San Diego Hotel!

An Edible Coprinus in the White Mtns of Arizona

Shaggy mane mushrooms (Coprinus comatus) in the White Mountains of Arizona. They are best cooked before they digest themselves!

Concluding Statements About Fungi

Fungi have some of the most bizarre shapes of any creature on this planet. Some fungi have established an association (marriage) with algae and are called lichens. Some species are absolutely delicious; however, make sure you can identify the species because some are poisonous. Never Eat A Wild Mushroom Unless You Can Positively Identify It! Animals have complex organ systems and anatomy, but fungi have much more complex life cycles involving different kinds of spores and alternate hosts. Some schools, such as Oregon State University, have large mycology departments and are conducting state of the art molecular research on fungi.

Overindulging on a fresh harvest of "King Bolete" Boletus edulis in Oregon many years ago. I once found another mushroom on Palomar Mountain with Elaine called Satan's Bolete. At first I thought it might be edible, but the name Satan in its common name gives you reason to hesitate. It has been moved from the genus Boletus to Rubroboletus and it is poisonous. Eating this mushroom could definitely spoil your fun day in the mountains!
  Wayne's Word: The Amazing Kingdom of Fungi  

Wayne's Word Fungus Pages

  1. Fungus Home Page: The Amazing Kingdom Of Fungi
  2. The Incredibly Delicious Home-Grown Oyster Fungus Hybrid
  3. Gymnophilus Mushroom At My Home In Twin Oaks Valley
  4. Tube Fungus (Poria) Growing In Crushed Rock At My Home
  5. Bird's Nest Fungus (Cyathus olla) At Palomar College
  6. Bracket Fungi: Strange Fungi That Grow On Tree Trunks
  7. Corticioid Fungi (Family Atheliaceae): White Soil Fungus
  8. Ergot Fungus--The Original Source Of Synthetic LSD
  9. Fungi: An Outline Of Major Divisions In The Kingdom Fungi
  10. Fungi On Summit Of Mt. Roberts, Alaska (Above
  11. Fungi From Palomar Mountain 1 (Carbon Balls, Bolete, Helvella)
  12. Fungi From Palomar Mountain 2 (Black Morel, Elfin Cup & Armillaria)     
  13. Fungi From Palomar Mountain 3 (Scaly Chanterelle & Coral Fungus)
  14. Fungi From Palomar Mountain 4 (Cortinarius collinitus Group)
  15. Fungi: Slime Molds (Physarum polycephalum) That Actually Move
  16. Fungi: Stinking Fungi That Attract Blow Flies & Flesh Flies
  17. Fungus Named After An Impudent (Shameless) Phallus
  18. Fungus Photos (1): Inky Cap, Fairy Bonnet, Morel & King Bolete
  19. Fungus Photos (2): Morels Collected In Southern California
  20. Fungus Photos (3): Shaggy Parasol & Jack-O-Lantern Mushrooms
  21. Fungus Photos (4): The Ubiquitous Domicile Cup Fungus
  22. Fungus Photos (5): Puffballs (Calvatia and Lycoperdon)
  23. Fungus Photos (6): Red Mushrooms At L.A. County Arboretum
  24. Old and New World Hallucinogenic Mushrooms
  25. Overindulging On Boletus Edulis (See Poisonous Chlorophyllum)
  26. Oyster Mushroom On Fan Palm In Anza-Borrego Desert
  27. Shaggy Mane Puffball In Death Valley National Monument
  28. Golden Pholiota Mushrooms In The Eastern Sierra Nevada
  29. Fungus Flowers: Mycotrophic Wildflowers That Resemble Fungi
  30. Fungus Galls: Abnormal Growths On Plants Caused By Fungi
  31. Fungus Thumbnail Images On Alaska 2009 Home Page
  32. Fungus Thumbnail Images On Oregon 2010 Home Page
  33. Fungus and Lichen Images On Maui & Molokai Trip 2013
  34. Dead Man's Foot (Pisolithus) & Dead Man's Fingers (Xylaria)
  35. False Morel or Brain Fungus (Gyromitra) & Elfin Cup (Helvella)