|Major Groups > Saddles > Helvella lactea|
by Michael Kuo
At first glance, this gorgeous Helvella species looks like Helvella crispa, with its whitish colors and strongly pocketed stem. But close inspection reveals several important differences: the edges of the cap are not curled upwards, and the undersurface of the cap is smooth, rather than densely fuzzy. In fact, if you are able to ignore the colors, Helvella lactea is more reminiscent of Helvella lacunosa. The latter, although black, has cap edges that become fused with the stem and a smooth undersurface, like Helvella lactea. Some mycologists even consider Helvella lactea to be a white variety of Helvella lacunosa.
Ecology: Officially saprobic, but I would guess that it has the potential to be mycorrhizal as well; growing alone or gregariously under conifers (especially firs) or in mixed woods; summer, fall, and winter; eastern and northern North America.
Cap: 1-4 cm; roughly saddle-shaped or irregularly lobed; surface smooth or wrinkled; white or whitish; undersurface more or less smooth, colored like the upper surface or slightly darker; the margin fused with the stem where contact occurs, and not curled upwards.
Flesh: Thin; brittle; often chambered in the stem.
Stem: 2-10 cm long; up to 2 cm wide; white; deeply and ornately ribbed, with cross-veins and pockets.
Microscopic Features: Spores 15.5-22 x 11-14 µ; elliptical; smooth; with one oil droplet.
REFERENCES: Boudier, 1907. (Abbott & Currah, 1997.) I have not collected this mushroom.
Further Online Information:
Helvella lactea (photo only) at Gruppo Micologico
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2005, February). Helvella lactea. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/helvella_lactea.html