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Upcoming Events

NOTICE of rescheduled workshop:

In place of the workshop that was cancelled on July 23, SIOSA will sponsor a Monarch Bioblitz this Saturday, Aug. 4 to coincide with the 2nd international Monarch Blitz described in the email below. 

The event will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon at Slip Bluff County Park, northeast of Lamoni. Veronica Mecko will lead the group in counting milkweeds and Monarch adults, eggs and larvae.

If you are interested in participating, please email and more information will be provided. 

If you can’t attend this event consider monitoring on your property or a native wildflower area near you. Go to, Monarch Larval Monitoring Project, to get all the information you will need.

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.

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