This section is from the book "Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc.", by George Francis Atkinson. Also available from Amazon: Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc..
This is a remarkably beautiful plant with a general distribution in the Eastern United States. It has often been referred to in this country under the genus name Milremyces, and sometimes has been confused with a rarer and different species, Calostoma lutescens (Schw.) Burnap. It grows in damp woods, usually along the banks of streams and along mountain roads. It is remarkable for the brilliant vermilion color of the inner surface of the outer layer of the wall (exoperidium), which is exposed by splitting into radial strips that curl and twist themselves off, and by the vermilion color of the edges of the teeth at the apex of the inner wall (endoperidium). The plant is 2-8 cm. high, and 1-2 cm. in diameter. When mature the base or stem, which is formed of reticulated and anastomosing cords, elongates and lifts the rounded or oval fruiting portion to some distance above the surface of the ground, when the gelatinous volva ruptures and falls to the ground or partly clings to the stem, exposing the peridium, the outer portion of which then splits in the manner described.
When the plant is first seen above the ground it appears as a globose or rounded body, and in wet weather has a very thick gelatinous layer surrounding it. This is the volva and is formed by the gelatinization of the outer layer of threads which compose it. This gelatinous layer is thick and also viscid, and when the plants are placed on paper to dry, it glues them firmly to the sheet. When the outer layer of the peridium splits, it does so by splitting from the base toward the apex, or from the apex toward the base. Of the large number of specimens which I have seen at Blowing Rock, N. C, the split more often begins at the apex, or at least, when the slit is complete, the strips usually stand out loosely in a radiate manner, the tips being free. At this stage the plant is a very beautiful object with the crown of vermilion strips radiating outward from the base of the fruit body at the top of the stem, and the inner peridium resting in the center and terminated by the four to seven teeth with vermilion edges. At this time also the light yellow spore mass is oozing out from between the teeth. The spores are oblong to elliptical, marked with very fine points, and measure 15-18 x 8-10 µ.
Plate 82, Figure 211
Calostoma cinnabarinum. See text for colors (natural size).
Figure 211 is from plants collected at Blowing Rock, N. C, in September, 1899. The Mytremyces lutescens reported in my list of "Some Fungi of Blowing Rock, N. C," in Jour. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc. 9: 95-107, 1892, is this Calostoma cinnabarinum.