Major Groups > Saddles > Helvella elastica


Helvella elastica

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

by Michael Kuo

This odd little floppy-pants of a Helvella is widely distributed in North America but appears to be more common in northern and montane areas. Several species, including Helvella latispora, appear similar on casual inspection--but a closer look reveals a difference in the usual shape of the cap; Helvella elastica has edges that fold inwards, towards the stem, in all stages of development, while the cap edges in Helvella latispora are often curled upwards. Also, the undersurface of Helvella elastica is bald, rather than finely granular or hairy.

Thanks to the Herbarium of the University of Michigan for facilitating study of the collections cited below.


Ecology: Probably mycorrhizal; growing alone or gregariously under conifers or hardwoods, on the ground--or, rarely, from rotting wood; late summer and fall; widely distributed in North America.

Cap: 1-6 cm across; loosely and shallowly saddle-shaped, loosely convex, or irregular, with convex lobes that sometimes fuse by maturity; upper surface bald, tan to brown or grayish brown; undersurface whitish to pale brownish, bald, only rarely ingrown with stem where contact occurs; the young margin folding downward, towards the stem, rather than curling upwards.

Flesh: Thin; brittle.

Stem: 2-11 cm long; to about 1 cm thick; more or less equal; cream colored; bald; hollow.

Microscopic Features: Spores 18-24 x 11.5-15 µ; elliptical; smooth; usually with one central oil droplet and up to 5 small droplets at each end. Paraphyses hyaline to pale brownish (especially in a water mount); with granular contents; apices clavate to subcapitate, 5-11 µ wide. Excipular surface with only a few projecting elements that are hyaline, septate, and 2-3 µ wide.

REFERENCES: Bulliard, 1785. (Fries, 1822; Saccardo, 1889; Weber, 1972; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Arora, 1986; Lincoff, 1992; Abbott & Currah, 1997; Evenson, 1997; Barron, 1999; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Trudell & Ammirati, 2009.) Herb. MICH 00021991 (N. J. Smith 1240), 00001586 (N. J. Smith 2072). Herb. Kuo 08281101.

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Helvella elastica

Helvella elastica

Helvella elastica

Helvella elastica
Spores and paraphyses

Helvella elastica
Elements on excipular surface

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