What You Should Know
Helvella macropus is an inedible species of fungus in the family Helvellaceae of the order Pezizales. Ascocarps are found in summer and autumn in woodland, usually (though not exclusively) associated with broad-leaved trees.
The slender stem, up to 7 centimeters high, supports a cup-shaped cap, the whole fruiting body being pale grey or brown, the inner (hymenial) surface of the cup usually being darker. It is one of several 'saddle fungi' that appear in forests, particularly beside footpaths; however, it is distinguished when young by not being saddle-shaped.
This species has a wide distribution in the northern hemisphere, having been recorded in Europe, North and Central America, and also in China, and Japan.
Other names: Long-Stalked Gray Cup, Scurfy Elfin-Cup, Felt Saddle.
Helvella macropus Mushroom Identification
Probably mycorrhizal; growing alone or gregariously on the ground or in moss under hardwoods (especially oaks) or conifers, or on rotting wood; summer and fall - or overwinter in warm climates; widely distributed in North America.
1-6 cm across; cup-shaped or disc-shaped - or occasionally nearly flat; upper surface medium to dark grayish brown, bald; undersurface light to medium grayish brown, finely to prominently pustulate-hairy (especially near the margin).
1-7 cm long (but usually longer, at maturity, than the cap is wide); 1-5 mm thick; more or less equal; sometimes with clefts near the base; medium brown (usually colored like the undersurface of the cap); whitish near the base; finely hairy or nearly bald with age.
Spores 18-25 x 10-12.5 µ; fusoid to subfusoid (but occasional ellipsoid spores are often present, especially when still in asci); smooth or roughened; when fresh triguttulate with one large central oil droplet and another, smaller oil droplet at each end, but when revived usually with one large oil droplet and varying smaller droplets. Paraphyses hyaline to ochraceous; apices subclavate, clavate, or subcapitate, 5-10 µ wide. Excipular surface elements hyaline to brownish; often arranged in short to long fascicles; frequently septate; terminal cells subglobose.
Helvella macropus Look-Alikes
Has darkish a gray-brown or black cap but it is readily differentiated from Helvella macropus by its saddle-shaped cap and massive and deeply grooved stem.
Is of similar size; it has a beige cap that is saddle-shaped, and its stem is white.
Helvella macropus Taxonomy and Etymology
When Christiaan Hendrik Persoon described this ascomycete in 1789, he gave it the binomial scientific name Peziza macropus. Some 80 years later, in 1870, Finnish mycologist Petter Adolf Karsten (1834 - 1917) redescribed this species under its currently accepted scientific name Helvella macropus.
Synonyms of Helvella macropus include Peziza stipitata Huds., Octospora bulbosa Hedw., Peziza macropus Pers., Peziza bulbosa (Hedw.) Nees, Macroscyphus macropus (Pers.) Gray, Macropodia macropus (Pers.) Fuckel, Lachnea bulbosa (Hedw.) W. Phillips, Lachnea macropus (Pers.) W. Phillips, Cyathipodia bulbosa (Hedw.) Boud., Cyathipodia macropus (Pers.) Dennis, and Helvella bulbosa (Hedw.) Kreise.
Helvella is an ancient term for an aromatic herb. The specific epithet macropus means with a large foot.
Photo 1 - Author: Holger Krisp (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: Jerzy Opioła (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 3 - Author: Lukas from London, England (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)
Photo 4 - Author: Holger Krisp (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)
Photo 5 - Author: Nina Filippova (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)
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