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Something different for January 2013

Chlorociboria aeruginascens and C. aeruginosa:
Green Elfin Cup or Green Stain

Green Elfin cup

The green stain manifests itself more by the deep, blue-green color that its mycelia stain the wood in which it is growing. We often find blue-green colored decayed wood in oak-hickory forests but only occasionally see the tiny cup-like fruit bodies of this mushroom.

The green wood was collected in England and used in Tunbridge ware. Tunbridge ware is furniture, trays boxes and other ornamental ware produced by inlaying squares of various colored woods. The green stain provided blue-green colored segments in this ware. Earlier during the Renaissance in Italy such wood was used in making intarsia paneling. Recently a modern furniture maker asked me for samples with which he intended to inject wood hoping to produce blue-green panels for some furniture he was making using the Tunbridge style of marquetry with modern furniture. Today we see marquetry in cutting boards made from various colored woods but I have never seen any with blue-green panels.

Chlorocibora aeruginascens

The fruit body of the mushroom is a very small blue-green cup about ΒΌ inch wide at maximum with a short slender stalk about 1/32 inch long. The cup becomes flattened with a wavy, irregular edge. The habitat is on barkless or rotting wood frequently oak. The two species are only differentiated by microscopic features though C. aeruginascens is more common here in Michigan. The green stain is circumglobular in the northern hemisphere with species also occurring in Australia and New Zealand. Studies in New Zealand have distinguished no fewer than 15 species and further studies may reveal an abundance of species in the U.S.