Small, red, usually stalkless; outer surface white. Grows on fallen wet sticks and branches in damp deciduous woods. March–May. Cup shallow; outer surface white, with tiny hairs; inner surface scarlet. Stalk (if present) short, thick; white. Spore print whitish cream. Spores magnified are elliptical, smooth.
Lookalikes: The stalked scarlet cup (S. occidentalis) has a well-developed stalk and a much tinier cup (rarely more than ½ inch across). It appears later in the season than the scarlet cup. The cinnabar chanterelle (Cantharellus cinnabarinus) grows on the ground.