the bright red, edible mushroom

The scarlet pezize, known scientifically as Sarcoscypha coccinea, is a small ascomycete of the same family as morels or truffles. Difficult to miss it when winter has set in with its white coat, because the pézize reigns with its scarlet red color. This mushroom would be the first of the year. Despite its bright red color, this mushroom is not poisonous. However, it has more of a decorative than a tasteful place on the plates. Here is what you need to know about the scarlet pezize mushroom.

1) What does the scarlet pezize look like?

The pézize is known for its particular shape like a basin. This rounded shape is the visible, fertile part of the fungus and is called the sporophore. This usually measures between 1 and 5 cm in diameter. The fertile part is inside the cup and it is this which gives this red and brilliant shine. The exterior is more matte and covered with a slightly white layer with a soft texture. The scarlet pezize can grow solitarily or in groups of three or four.

This fungus is generally found on dead wood, buried in the organic matter of the undergrowth. Its foot measures about 2 cm and is therefore buried or clinging to old decaying branches. The almost translucent skin is very fragile and splits very easily.

2) What are the uses of this mushroom?

The scarlet pezize is not at all poisonous. However, she doesn’t have a great culinary interest either. Only its shape and its color mark an interest in the plate. For cooks, the aesthetics of this mushroom goes very well in dishes! The scarlet pezize simply has no taste, it is a totally neutral food. Might as well let this mushroom decorate nature!

Pézize is also used in floral compositions or still lifes. Once again, its aesthetics seduces!

scarlet pezize mushroom
Credits: Björn S… / Flickr

3) Where and when does the scarlet pezize appear?

This fungus is found in damp places or in shaded areas of the garden if the soil is rich in humus. But also in undergrowth and leafy hedges. The fungus is also very fond of branches of hazel and maple. River banks are also one of their breeding grounds.

Its sporophore generally appears in winter and early spring in the middle of mosses.

Sources : Aujardin, Vapko

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