CUP FUNGI, SADDLE FUNGI AND MORELS
Description: Ascomycete fungi with a cup-shaped fruiting body, or a few with the cup distorted into a saddle-like shape, or forming a network of ridges. The spores are formed from the surface inside the cup and are shot upwards into the air. Sometimes, when a fruiting body of one of the larger species is moved into the sun, or gently blown on to, clouds of spores can be seen to be released.
Most are saprobic on fallen plant material, sometimes on soil. Cyttaria is parasitic on Nothofagus, forming galls on branches and twigs.
There are many genera of cup fungi in New Zealand. Only a few of the larger or more distinctive genera are treated here. Descriptions and images for most of the New Zealand species of both inoperculate and operculate discomycetes are available through the NZFungi web pages.