Friday, March 4, 2011

Scarlet Cups

Scarlet cups are a new spring organism for me in Wildwood.
They are very small - about the size of a dime when they first appear,
and they don't just pop up, you have to gently move a few leaves
to find them. That's probably why I had not seen them.
The cups are rather shallow, and although they look as if
they are filled with a shiny red liquid, they are actually dry inside.
While getting up-close photos of them, I realized that there were
tiny, gnat-sized insects crawling on them called springtails.
I had not ever seen those, either!

When I returned to the site about a week later,
I found that the cups had grown and some were almost
as large as half dollars, and they were much easier to spot.

These are sometimes called scarlet elf cups and it's easy to imagine
that pixies and fairies might have tea parties in the woods where they grow!

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