Sarcosoma globosum    (Schmidel) Rehm

A Cup Fungus 

MN Status:
special concern
Federal Status:


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Minnesota range map
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North American range map
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Bulgaria globosa

  Basis for Listing

Sarcosoma globosum (a cup fungus) is a large distinctive cup fungus that is known from 12 locations in the Northern Superior Uplands Secton of Minnesota, in the Superior National Forest. It is reported as being distributed from the Upper Great Lakes region east to New England, and adjacent Canada (Smith et al. 1981), with occasional reports from Virginia and North Carolina, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. It is considered rare both in North America (Smith et al. 1981; Bessette et al. 1997) and Europe, where the European Council for Conservation of Fungi has proposed it for listing under the Bern Convention (Dahlberg and Croneborg 2003).  In 2013, it was classified as a special concern species in Minnesota.


Sarcosoma globosum is a large distinctive species forming a tall dark brown gelatinous cup (Seaver 1961; Smith et al. 1981). The fruiting body is 4-10 cm (1.6-3.9 in) broad when mature and 7 cm (2.8 in.) tall. It is globose when young and becomes flattened to depressed on the upper surface, forming a cup 1 cm (0.4 in.) deep as the spore-forming layer forms, and it bulges out below. Externally, the fruiting body is brownish-black with a tough outer surface; internally, it is watery and gelatinous. Spores are ellipsoid, hyaline, smooth, and thin-walled, averaging 27.5 by 9.6 µm. They are produced in the cup in very long asci, mostly 310-335 µm by 14-17 µm, which are surrounded by narrow brown filaments, 4 µm wide.


In Minnesota, S. globosum has been found fruiting in shaded, moist pine needle duff in a depauperate herbaceous layer under Betula papyrifera (paper birch), Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen), and Abies balsamea (balsam fir), with Pinus strobus (white pine) nearby (northern fire-dependent woodland). It has been reported fruiting on the ground in needle litter with other tree species in eastern North America including Pinus banksiana (jack pine), Picea sp. (spruce) and jack pine-spruce stands with an understory of balsam fir and white pine.

  Biology / Life History

Members of the Sarcosomataceae are likely saprobic and occur on wood, other plant parts, or soil (Hansen and Pfister 2006). The temperate members of this family typically fruit in the spring.

  Conservation / Management

Loss and degradation of habitat because of changes in land use are the greatest threat to the preservation of rare fungi. Sarcosoma globosum fruits in the spring; in Minnesota, it was recorded in late May. Additional surveys for this species are needed.

  Best Time to Search

The best time to search for Sarcosoma globosum is from April to June.

  References and Additional Information

Dahlberg, A., and H. Croneborg, editors. 2003. The 33 threatened fungi in Europe. Nature and Environment, No.136, Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg, France. 132 pp.

Description of Sarcosoma globosum, DJM 050. MIN 885871. 2013. University of Minnesota herbarium (MIN) James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History (Accessed through Data Portal, http//

Hansen, K., and D. H. Pfister. 2006. Systematics of the Pezizomycetes ? the operculate discomycetes. Mycologia 98(6):1029-1040.

Index Fungorum. 2013. Index Fungorum [web application]. The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Landcare Research-NZ, and the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Science. <>.

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas. 2018. Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas [web application]. Bell Museum, St. Paul, Minnesota. Accessed 13 December 2018.

MyCoPortal. 2018. Mycology Collections Portal [web application]. <>. Accessed 13 December 2018.

Seaver, F. J. 1978. North American cup-fungi (operculates). New edition. Lubrecht & Cramer Ltd., Port Jervis, New York. 398 pp.

Smith, A. H., H. V. Smith, and N. S. Weber. 1981. How to know the non-gilled mushrooms. Subsequent edition. William C. Brown Co., Dubuque, Iowa. 336 pp.

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