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.

Thanks to the Herbarium of the University of Michigan for facilitating study of the holotype collection of this species (see type study below).


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.) 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.

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Helvella maculata

Helvella maculata
Portion of the holotype (dried specimens)

Helvella maculata

Helvella maculata

© MushroomExpert.Com

Cite this page as:

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