– great orange elf-cup, orange fairy-cup, orange peel fungus, orange-peel fungus, orange-peel
Description: Aleuria aurantia does indeed look like orange peels turned inside-out and scattered by a passing hiker or motorist. The inner fertile surface is a brilliant deep orange, the outer surface paler with a somewhat dandruffy texture. The spores are ellipsoid, 13--24 x 7.5--10 µm, and covered by a network of ridges. A. aurantia is very common in the fall, and is especially abundant along gravelly forest roads, in campgrounds, and at trailhead parking areas. It is one of several ascomycetes that will discharge many spores simultaneously when disturbed, producing a visible smoke-like cloud. Sometimes this can be induced by breathing on the cups, at other times it will occur on its own when the fruitbody is removed from its collecting container.
Distribution: A. aurantia is widespread in the Northern Hemisphere.
Habitat: grassy areas on disturbed soil, in gardens, and along roadsides
Substrate: On ground, in groups or clusters.
Spores: Summer and fall