Newsletter Signup

To be added to the SIOSA email list to receive the quarterly SIOSA newsletter and information on events, email

Upcoming Events


Early to mid-April, East Lake Park, Osceola — Free Prescribed Burn Workshop. Date and time to be announced depending on weather. Email if you are interested in participating.

Family friendly, out-in-nature stroll from the South Shelter to Clark Tower and back.
April 22, 11:30 AM:FLS! is hosting the 2nd annual public “Walk in the Park” at Winterset City Park. Celebrate Earth Day by enjoying spring wildflowers with knowledgeable plant people as we stroll through the treasure that is Winterset City Park. Shelter is ours at 11:30.  Picnic before, pick up resources, get acquainted. Walk begins at 12:30 PM. Bring water, dress for the weather, and prepare to enjoy!

Saturday, May 5: Spring Nature Walk, Springer Woods, Decatur County — SIOSA members will lead a walk through the 40-acre woodland to observe wildflowers, birds, insects and other wildlife.

Saturday, June 23, 8:00 AM: Prairie Walk at Bobwhite State Park, Wayne County — Walk the Prairie Trail and learn about prairie wildlife and restoration work that has been done.

Sunday, July 22, 9:00 AM – 12 noon at Slip Bluff County Park, Decatur County — Monarch and Milkweed Monitoring. Monitoring for Monarchs, milkweeds and nectar plants was done at Slip Bluff County Park at three areas of the park in 2016 and one area of the park in 2017. In 2018, monitoring using the Monarch Larval Monitoring Project protocol will continue with a field day for the public to learn about the monitoring and participate. Monarch density and milkweed density studies will be done on the east side of the lake and possibly in the East Oak Savanna area. A list of flowering plants will also be made. Educational materials will be provided. Drinks and snacks will be provided. Email if you plan to participate.

Next SIOSA board meeting

The next regular SIOSA meeting is Wednesday, April 4 at 1:00 pm.  We will be meeting at the Clarke County Conservation Board headquarters at East Lake Park.  The park is located just east of Osceola on Hwy 34.

Field Journal 2018, March 19-25

Sunday, March 25, 2018 @ 12:03 PM
posted by veronica

By Sibylla Brown, Timberhill Oak Savanna

Crimson Cups (Sarcoscypha dudleyi) are usually the earliest spring mushrooms to fruit at Timberhill.  This year I found the first specimen during the January thaw near the end of the month.   But fruiting was cut short by the frigid February temperatures that followed. It wasn’t until the milder temperatures and adequate precipitation the third week of March that the Crimson Cups fruited again.  Now they are truly abundant.

The Iowa Crimson Cup species was called Sarcoscypha coccina until it was found to differ microscopically from S. dudleyi. S. coccina is found only in the Pacific Northwest whereas two species S. austriaca  and S. dudleyi are found in eastern North America.  All three are part of a complex whose species can only be separated microscopically. The margins of these bright red cups are strongly scalloped and incurved in young specimens.  As they age the margins curve backward and the bright red inner surface fades to reddish orange. (Note the difference of inner cup surface color between upper and middle specimens on the left.)

Crimson Cups

At Timberhill I find Crimson Cups attached to buried or partially buried American Basswood sticks. Basswood sticks are easy to spot because their dark reddish brown color is quite different from other downed wood along the creek bottom.  It helps to carry a hand rake when searching for crimson cups as they are often hidden under leaf cover. 

Note: Crimson Cups are not edible.

American Basswoods (also known as American Linden) are fairly abundant in the sandy soil along Brush Creek north and east of the house.  Even without leaves this large (50-100 feet) handsome tree is easily identified by its medium gray, rough textured bark with long, shallow furrows and flat topped ridges.  The ridges are occasionally interrupted by horizontal fissures. 

American Basswood

D.M Huffman et al. 2008. Mushrooms and Other Fungi of the Midcontinental United States. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.

Michael M. Beug et al. 2014. Ascomycete Fungi of North America. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Peter J. Van Der Linden and Donald R. Farrar.  2011. Forest and Shade Trees of Iowa. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.

Leave a Reply