Helvella crispa: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Helvella crispa Mushroom
Helvella crispa is an ascomycete fungus of the Helvellaceae family. The mushroom is readily identified by its irregularly shaped whitish cap, fluted stem, and fuzzy undersurfaces. It is found in eastern North America and Europe, near deciduous trees in summer and autumn.
The fungus was originally described as Phallus crispus by the naturalist Scopoli in 1772. In Latin the adjective crispa means ‘wrinkled’ or ‘curly’.
An unusual mushroom, the fluted saddle may pop up near coniferous trees. It falls into the group of shrooms that have a "head" rather than a cap like a "normal" mushroom. Don't be stupid and confuse the fluted saddle with a stinkhorn, which you're much more likely to find.
Other names: White Saddle, Elfin Saddle, Common Helvel.
Helvella crispa Identification
The saddle-shaped cap may have two or three major undulations and many minor curled contortions. The upper surface is smooth and cream or occasionally pinkish or pale ochre; the underside is pale ochre and slightly downy.
The upward tapering stem is white and ornately furrowed or fluted; it is hollow and has thin, elastic flesh.
This species is very variable in size. The cap is typically 3 to 8cm across and 1 to 4cm tall; the stem is 2 to 4cm in diameter and 4 to 8cm long.
Believed to be mycorrhizal, under broadleaf trees, particularly beech and oak, and very often beside well-trodden paths.
Helvella elastica has a tough, smooth stem without channels.
Helvella lacunosa has a grey-brown or black cap.
Season: Summer and autumn.
Spore print: White.
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