Major Groups > Saddles > Helvella maculata


Helvella maculata

[ Ascomycetes > Pezizales > Helvellaceae > Helvella . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Helvella maculata is a western species that features an elaborately ribbed and pocketed stem, a brownish cap that is loosely lobed, and a fuzzy, whitish undersurface. It appears under conifers and hardwoods from Alaska to California--usually in fall, but also over winter or in spring in coastal areas.


Ecology: Probably mycorrhizal; growing alone or gregariously under conifers (especially spruces and Douglas-fir); fall (also winter and spring in coastal areas); Alaska to California, inland to Idaho and Alberta.

Cap: 1-6 cm; vaguely saddle-shaped or irregularly lobed; at first strongly inrolled; slightly wavy or wrinkled; upper surface brown, sometimes mottled with whitish areas; undersurface whitish at first, becoming dull yellow with age, densely fuzzy, occasionally with a few ribs extended from the stem; the margin not usually fusing with the stem where contact occurs.

Flesh: Thin; brittle; often chambered in the stem.

Stem: 2-12 cm long; up to 3 cm wide; whitish, with brownish areas; deeply and ornately ribbed, with cross-veins and pockets.

Microscopic Features: Spores 18-23 x 11-14 µ; elliptical; smooth; with one large oil droplet. Paraphyses with subclavate to clavate apices; 5-9 µ wide; hyaline to brownish. Excipular surface elements hyaline; often arranged in bundles; frequently septate; terminal cells subglobose to barrel-shaped.

REFERENCES: Weber, 1975. (Weber, 1975; Arora, 1986; Abbott & Currah, 1997; Treibs, 2001.) MICH 5635 (N. J. Smith 2124; holotype).

Study of the Holotype

A portion of the holotype collection (N. J. Smith 2124, from Bonner County, ID; MICH 5635) containing three dried fruiting bodies was examined in October of 2012, courtesy of the Herbarium of the University of Michigan.

Caps 15-29 mm high; 19-36 mm wide; wavy and irregular with upturned margins; not or only vaguely lobed; broadly wrinkled; medium grayish brown (641); with a lens appearing finely velvety. Excipular surface brownish yellow (814); pubescent. Stem 40-55 x 9-14 mm; lacunose; ribs extending a few mm onto excipular surface; concolorous with excipular surface; basal mycelium whitish. Paraphyses filiform with clavate, subclavate, or merely rounded apices; hyaline to ochraceous in water; hyaline to brownish (in the cells) in KOH; 5-8 µ wide. Asci 8-spored. Spores in KOH ellipsoid or irregularly swollen in the middle by the medium; smooth; hyaline; with one large oil droplet and numerous smaller globules. Spores in water with one large oil droplet or with amorphous granular contents; smooth; 18-21 x 11-12 µ;ellipsoid; hyaline. Excipular surface elements hyaline in KOH; in bundles of chained, cylindric-septate units; terminal cell subglobose to pyriform. Stipitipellis of filamentous hyaline hyphae about 2.5 µ wide, interspersed with bundles of elements like those on the excipular surface.


Helvella maculata

Helvella maculata
Portion of the holotype (dried specimens)

Helvella maculata

Helvella maculata

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Kuo, M. (2012, October). Helvella maculata. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: