What You Should Know
Helvella ephippium is a species of fungi in the family Helvellaceae, Pezizales order. It appears in summer and autumn as an upright white stem up to 5 cm (2.0 in) tall supporting a grayish-brown saddle-shaped cap. It is found in woodland and is variously listed as inedible or "edible but uninspiring". This is a European species, also recorded in China.
It occurs from the plains to the hills, but not in mountainous regions, from July to November.
Helvella ephippium Mushroom Identification
Has a diameter of 2-5 (6) cm. The fertile circular region is leathery-fragile, consisting of two lobes, slightly wavy, dry, smooth, and velvety, with a characteristic appearance of saddle and edges often slightly twisted inwards, later upwards. The sterile outer surface varies in color from light brown, over gray-brown to gray-bluish, and the fertile inner is always lighter in color than the outer, whitish to gray-brown, being coarse-grained or fine-grained. Young mushrooms look like a Peziza sponge.
Has a height of 4-5 (7), and a thickness of 0.4-0.8 cm, is more or less cylindrical, thicker at the base and thin at the tip, in the middle sometimes slightly swollen, with a consistency slightly harder, being smooth, neither furrowed nor wrinkled on the outside, the inside being full, a very rare feature for this species. The exterior color is whitish to whitish-yellowish or gray-brown and granular misty, with darker gray-blue specimens like the cap, but also lighter. Not connected with the cap.
Whitish, thin, waxy, and standing only slightly stronger. The smell is imperceptible, uncharacteristic and the taste is weaker.
It has ellipsoidal spores, smooth and hyaline (translucent), with a large oily drop in the middle, having a size of (16.3) 17.4 - 20.1 (21) x (10.9) 11 - 12.2 (12.8) microns. Their powder is white. The 320–340 x 14–15 micron long axes each contain 8 spores. Filamentous paraphyses (sterile cells between ascii) measure 18.8 × 11.6 microns.
Helvella ephippium Synonyms
Helvella atra var. murina (Boud.) Keissl.
Helvella murina (Boud.) Sacc. & Traverso
Leptopodia ephippium (Lév.) Boud.
Leptopodia murina Boud.
Photo 1 - Author: Holger Krisp (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)
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Photo 3 - Author: Björn S... (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)
Photo 4 - Author: Holger Krisp (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)
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