Major Groups > Saddles > Helvella pezizoides


Helvella pezizoides

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

by Michael Kuo

Among the Helvella species with smooth (rather than ribbed) stems, Helvella pezizoides is distinguished by a combination of features:

  • The cap and stem are black.
  • The cap is saddle-shaped or loosely lobed.
  • The cap margin is strongly rolled upwards in youth, and often in maturity.
  • The undersurface of the cap is densely fuzzy.

The North American range of Helvella pezizoides appears to be limited to boreal (or nearly boreal) regions, but since the species is so infrequently collected it is unclear whether it might be expected elsewhere.

Helvella atra is a similar species; it features a cap margin that is not usually rolled up, and an undersurface that is smooth or merely finely fuzzy.

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 hardwoods or conifers, on the ground or on rotting wood; summer and fall; in northern forests from Michigan to Alaska.

Cap: 1.5-5 cm; loosely saddle-shaped, typically forming a deep fold--or somewhat irregular; dark brownish gray to black; the margin rolled upwards when young and often remaining upturned at maturity; undersurface densely fuzzy or hairy, grayish, often ingrown with the stem where contact occurs.

Flesh: Thin; brittle.

Stem: 3-4 cm long; to 1 cm thick; colored like the cap; smooth or finely fuzzy.

Microscopic Features: Spores: 16-21 x 10-13 µ; elliptical; with one large oil droplet; smooth. Paraphyses cylindric, developing subclavate to clavate apices; hyaline to ochraceous or brownish; up to 8 µ wide. Excipular surface elements hyaline to brownish; often arranged in bundles; frequently septate; terminal cells pyriform to clavate, up to 20 wide.

REFERENCES: Afzelius, 1783. (Saccardo, 1889; Weber, 1972; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Abbott & Currah, 1997.) Herb. MICH 22490 (N. J. Smith 560), 22494 (N. J. Smith 2239).

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Helvella pezizoides

Helvella pezizoides

Helvella pezizoides

Helvella pezizoides

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