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“Elfin Saddle” Fungi Fruiting

smooth-stalked helvellaIMG_1997A group of fungi called the Ascomycetes, or sac fungi, all produce their spores in sac-like structures. This group includes, among others, morels, false morels, cup fungi and saddle fungi. Sac fungi in the genus Helvella are known as “Elfin Saddles” — the caps of their fruiting bodies come in a variety of shapes, including ears and cups as well as saddles. Most are not brightly colored and are usually white, cream, buff, brown, gray or black. Helvella species grow on the ground or, in a few cases, on rotting wood. Species are defined by the shape of their caps and the texture of their outer surface and stem. (Thanks to Susan and Dean Greenberg for photo op.)

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6 responses

  1. Elizabeth

    Cool fungi! I don’t think I’ve ever seen these. Or, if I did, I would have assumed it was some kind of mutation. Will keep an eye out in future. Under what conditions are they most likely to be found?

    August 13, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    • Different species send up mushrooms at different times — the one pictured, which I think but am not positive is Smooth-stalked Helvella (Helvella elastica), appears this time of year on the ground in both deciduous and coniferous woods.

      August 13, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      • Elizabeth

        Thanks! I did not see any of these, but found an abundance of chanterelles yesterday after the rain. Sauted with onions and butter on sourdough toast. Delicious!

        August 14, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    • YUM!

      August 14, 2014 at 2:40 pm

  2. Wow – that one is surely different!

    August 14, 2014 at 10:05 am

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever seen fungi like this before. I will have to keep my eyes peeled!

    August 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm

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