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Elfin Saddle

Helvella lacunosa


Helvella lacunosa has an irregularly folded or wrinkled cap which may be shades of slatey grey to black in colour, and measure anywhere from 1 to 10 cm (½–4 in), though usually between 2 and 5 cm (1-2 in). The wrinkled ringless 3–15 cm (1–6 in) high stem is chambered within, and may be white when young and darker with age, though may be any shade of grey. The spore print is white, the oval spores average 12 x 9 μm.[4] Occasionally white capped forms are found. They may be distinguished from the creamy-white coloured Helvella crispa by the latter's furry cap undersurface and inrolled margins when young.


This species is common in western North America and is also found in Europe[4], Japan,[6] and China.[7] It is frequent in the alpine, and temperate zones of both the northern and southern hemispheres.[1] The species occurs under pine, oak and Douglas fir and nearby parkland and lawns.[4] Fruiting bodies appear in late summer and autumn, though have been recorded in winter in California.[4] It often occurs on burnt ground.[8]


Some specimens have a white moldy appearance, having been colonised by the parasitic Ascomycete fungus Hypomyces cervinigenus. The one on the left is heavily infected and the one in the center is showing signs of infection

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Silverdale, Washington, USA

Spotted on Nov 5, 2011
Submitted on Nov 8, 2011

Related Spottings

Elfin saddle Helvella latispora Helvella albella Helvella-Eater

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