Germination and Anamorphs
Anamorphs in Sarcoscypha serve as valuable characters to delimit species. Conidal size strongly varies among the species, also the guttules inside and the nuclear numbers. Conidiophores emerging on conidiophores borne on the ascospores is a key character for S. austriaca and S. occidentalis.
Molliard (1904) was the first to report conidia in Sarcoscypha. Paden (1984) erected the genus Molliardiomyces to accommodate the anamorphic states of both Sarcoscypha and the related genus Phillipsia, and Harrington (1990) followed this nomenclatural method by creating further specific epithets. Thereby, the confusion about the teleomorphs of S coccinea agg. had the consequence that the anamorph of S. austriaca is M. coccinea while that of S. coccinea received the name M. eucoccinea. (In my opinion, naming of anamorphic states is not necessary after the connection to a teleomorph has been proved by pure culture. Yet, I accept the use of form genera to circumscribe morphologically similar anamorphic states.)
Germination of ascospores. On current agar media ascospores germinate readily at 15-18°C within 1-4 days (Harrington 1990: 427) or even faster by forming usually one terminal germ tube. Multispore cultures rapidly produce an abundant whitish mycelium.
Formation of the anamorphic state. Possibly all species of Sarcoscypha produce an anamorph in pure culture. Conidia are formed on simple conidiophores. These emerge either on the hyphae after a mycelium is produced on the agar, or directly on the ascospores (formed on one to four loci on the ascospore wall). The latter type is merely obtained under the absence of nutrients, either in water agar, or when apothecia get senescent. On rich agar the ascospores always showed normal germination, forming their conidia eventually on the mycelial hyphae. Both types of germination occur also in the related genus Phillipsia. Conidiogenesis is always holoblastic. Conidia produced on the ascospores are also found inside the dead asci of senescent apothecia since ascospores need not to be ejected in order to germinate (but they never germinate within the living asci!).
Molliardiomyces coccinea, anamorph of S. austriaca. Conidia medium-sized, multiguttulate, ?5-9-nucleate.
Molliardiomyces eucoccinea, anamorph of S. coccinea. Conidia small, biguttulate, ?uninucleate.
Conidial morphology. Conidia are comparatively small, bi- or multiguttulate, and contain one or several nuclei (the nuclei are very difficult to see). In contrast to the ascospores, the conidial wall does not stain in CRB.
Germination of conidia. Usually no germination of the conidia of Sarcoscypha was ever observed, though extensive studies on thousands of conidia were undertaken (Harrington 1990: 429). However, in S. jurana the conidia swell enormously on agar and eventually form a mycelium.
Blackish-brown pigment of the branch surface. In all species of Sarcoscypha examined, a characteristic, more or less deep blackish-brown pigmentation of the substrate surface was noted. In cultural studies with S. coccinea performed by P. Zinth (pers. comm.) on sterilized natural substrate placed on a layer of sand, this dark pigment was formed at the bottom and the top of the sand layer. Clearly this pigment is formed by the mycelium of the Sarcoscypha, though it does not occur on current agar media. The pigment forms a very thin layer that undoubtedly embraces those areas of the branch being colonized by the hyaline mycelium.