At first glance, Helvella lacunosa is likely to be mistaken for something dried-up and blackened, but close inspection reveals a fresh mushroom, quite beautiful in its ornateness and dark colors. Helvella lacunosa is frequently parasitized by Hypomyces cervinigenus and by the gilled mushroom Clitocybe sclerotoidea. Helvella mitra is a synonym. Some mycologists e. Dissing believe Helvella sulcata to be merely a form of Helvella lacunosa, but I disagree. See the linked page for further discussion.
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Helvella lacunosa Afzel. This species seems to favour rich soil and burnt ground, against which as a background it is not at all conspicuous and so is easily missed. These saddles are often so distorted that it is impossible not to feel sympathy for the poor elfin creatures reputed to ride on them - or enough, perhaps, to undermine any belief in elves.
Distribution A fairly common find in Britain and Ireland, Elfin Saddle fungus occurs also throughout mainland Europe, from Scandinavia right down to the southern shores of the Iberian Peninsula. This species is also found in North America. Taxonomic history Elfin Saddle was first validly described and named scientifically in by Swedish naturalist Adam Afzelius , who called it Helvella lacunosa; this has remained its generally-accepted scientific name to this day.
Synonyms of Helvella lacunosa include Helvella scutula var. Etymology Helvella is an ancient term for an aromatic herb. Why is the common name Elfin Saddle? Why not Fairy, Pixie or Goblin Saddle, you may wonder. Identification guide Description Typically 2 to 4cm across the cap, Elfin Saddle fungi have a total height 4 to 10cm. Saddle-shaped caps of Helvella lacunosa often have three or more contorted lobes.
The cap edges join to the stem to form a multi-lobed inner chamber with several openings. The smooth outer surface of the cap is dark grey and is the surface that bears the spores, while the infertile inner surface is also grey but has a felty feel.
Longitudinally grooved and hollow, the stems are grey or grey-brown and often contain many inner chambers. Each ascus contains eight spores.
Fiche de Helvella