Flora and fauna – the Scarlet Elf cup

It’s starting to feel more like Spring, but there are still not many flowers out yet. One brightly coloured fungus that does offer a cheery dash of colour at the moment though is the scarlet elf cup. 

If you’re taking a walk along the Sett Valley trail or Mousley Bottom, look into the wooded edges, and you will soon pick out its bright shiny red shape. It usually grows in clusters, so once you see one, you’ll see more. It’s not difficult to see how they get their rather magical name when you see the little cup like fungi peeping out from under the leaf litter or sprouting from decaying branches: according to legend, wood elves used to drink dew from them. 

Some experts say they are edible though need cooking first; others disagree – so probably best to just admire them in their natural home!


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