There are two divisions of fungi: the Ascomycota and the Basidiomycota.

Cup shaped Scutellinia scutellata

Ascomycetes are fungi that produce ascospores within elongated tubular sacs, called asci, that are situated in the body of the fungus. With exceptions, most asci contain 8 ascospores each. When their spores are mature, they are forcibly ejected from the fruiting body. There are two main kinds of ascomycetes: those that are cup shaped and those that are flask shaped. Below is an alphabetical  list of cup fungi in the Ascomycota that are common in the northeast. To find Quick Links to alphabetically listed Flask fungi in the ascomycota, click here.

The majority of fungi (whether ascomycetes or basidiomycetes) are saprotrophs: they emit enzymes that break down dead organic matter into smaller molecules. These are absorbed by the mycelium  enabling it to survive, expand and carry on its mode of living. Many of the molecules may be taken in by mycohrrizal fungi associated with the roots of plants and transferred to trees in return for sugars and other nutrients. 

Most mushroom collectors tend to focus more on fungi in the basidiomycota than fungi in the ascomycota - in part because - with the exception of choice edible species of morels, truffles and the lobster mushroom, they are usually more charismatic and more noticeable during the course of a growing season. Yet there are many more fungi species in the Ascomycota than in the Basiomycota.  Evolutionarily ascomycetes are believed to be older than the Basidiomycota. 

Many ascos are quite small and beautiful such as the ‘Eyelash Cup’ (Scutellinia scutellata). Although there are also some basidiomycete lichens, Ascomycetes are the dominant associate of lichens and are considered members of the fungi kingdom. In fact lichens are usually ascofungi that have had a long term relationship with an algae, along with bacteria and in some cases, a virus.

Not all fungi have common names, and this is why we are using scientific binomials to refer to the various families and species within each family. You can simply click on a name and be brought to the photo and description of each included fungus in the Ascomycota. Remember, if a particular name is in parentheses, that is the older name which you can use to find the fungus in your favorite field guide published before 2018. 

CUP FUNGI                                                                            

ALEURIA aurantia                                                                                                                        

ARACHNOPEZIZA aurelia                                                                                                           

ASCOCORYNE cylichnium                                                                                                         


BISPORELLA citrina    

BULGARIA inquinans                                                                                                               

CALOSCYPHA fulgens                                                                                                            

CHLORENCOELIA torta                                                                                                               


CHLOROCIBORIA aeruginascens                                                                                               

CHLOROSPLENIUM chlora                                                                                                         


CHROMELOSPORIUM caerulescens                                                                                           

CUDONIA circinans                                                                                                                       


DASYSCYPHUS____virgineus  (See LACHNUM virgineum)  


GYROMITRA gigas (korfii)                                                                                                             


 ____korfii (See G.gigas)                                                                                                                 

HELVELLA acetabulum                                                                                                                    








HUMARIA hemisphaerica                                                                                                      

HYMENOSCYPHUS epiphyllus                                                                                                    




LACHNUM____virgineum (DASYSCYPHUS virgineus)




MOLLISIA____ cinerea

MORCHELLA americana (esculenta)


____diminutiva (tulip)

____punctipes (semilibera)

NEOLECTA irregularis


OTIDEA alutacea




PACHYELLA clepeata

PEZIZA phyllogena (badioconfusa)






SARCOSCYPHA occidentalis

SCUTELLINIA scutellata 



TATRAEA macrospora

URNULA craterium

WYNNEA americana