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Summary: features include umbrella-like or wavy or occasionally saddle-shaped cap that is tan to brown, olive-brown, or light to dark grayish brown on the upper side, white or creamy and strongly ribbed on the downy underside, stem whitish usually with pinkish or purplish tints, deeply ribbed, downy, and often short, growth on the ground or coniferous wood in late spring and summer, and elliptic spores with 2 droplets but without apiculi; Trudell(4) describe it as having the appearance of a hybrid mushroom: "a gyromitra-like cap mounted on a helvella-like fluted stipe"; collections examined from BC, WA, OR, ID, CA, reported from CO, MT, NV, (Abbott)
Cap: 4-12(25)cm across, 'convex to umbrella-like or undulating or occasionally broadly saddle-shaped (usually strongly spreading and often appearing "puffed-up")'; "tan to brown, olive-brown or light to dark grayish brown"; surface "uneven to somewhat convoluted but not brain-like"; margin typically free from stem and incurved toward it, (Arora), cap 2.3-13.5cm across, 1.3-8cm high, "irregularly convex to lobed, margin reflexed", free from stem; "medium to dark brown (fresh and dried)"; nearly smooth to undulate-rugose [wavy-wrinkled], (Abbott), convex with numerous undulations and irregularities; brown-gray to gray-brown, (Castellano)
Flesh: very thin and fragile, almost papery when dried, (Arora)
Underside: whitish or creamy; ribbed, minutely hairy to smooth, (Arora), cream to pale yellow-brown; pubescent [downy], "strongly ribbed, ribs sharp-edged, often reaching marginal region", continuous with those of stem, (Abbott)
Stem: 3-8(12)cm x 2-5(6)cm, "equal or narrowed at base, often rather short", typically not internally chambered in cross-section; "white or sometimes aging grayish, buff, or yellowish", the base (or sometimes the whole stem) usually with a pinkish, rosy, vinaceous, or purplish tinge; "deeply and irregularly fluted or with several widely spaced ribs that extend onto the underside of the cap, where they fan out and continue to or nearly to the margin", (Arora), 2.5-8cm x 0.8-6cm, narrowing to base, flaring and merging with cap at top; pale yellow-brown, often with wine red tints near base; "pubescent, deeply ribbed, ribs sharp-edged, widely spaced", internally sulcate [grooved] and "solid or with few chambers", (Abbott), "deeply fluted not forming lacunae, stem base may be flushed with tints of pink to pink-tan while the upper part is cream-colored to white", (Castellano)
Microscopic: spores (14)16.1-20.3 x (7.5)8.4-10.7 microns, elliptic, smooth, colorless, with 2 droplets, without apiculi; asci 160-200 x 10-12 microns; paraphyses 6-8 microns wide at tip, clavate, brown in mass, (Abbott), 13-19 x 7-10 microns, elliptic, smooth, ends often apiculate at maturity [sic], with small oil droplets, (Arora)
Habitat / Range
single to gregarious "on soil, duff, or woody debris, rarely on rotted logs, in coniferous woods", "from April 24 in BC to August 6 in ID and interior BC, June and July collections are common", (Abbott), on or adjacent to well rotted stumps or logs of coniferous trees or on soil rich in brown rotted wood, (Castellano), single, scattered, or gregarious "in woods and at their edges, along streams, or often in somewhat disturbed soil", mainly late spring and summer, but sometimes in fall or even winter, (Arora)
Gyromitra sphaerospora has round spores, (Abbott); Gyromitra melaleucoides has upper surface similar in color but the cap is disc-shaped to broadly bowl-shaped or minimally recurved, and the stem, when present, is not composed of sharp-edges ribs, "in addition, the spores are ornamented instead of smooth", (Castellano)
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2017. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
20/07/2019 9:08:13 AM
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