E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Helvella elastica Bull.: Fr.
smooth-stalked helvella

Species account author: Ian Gibson.
Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© May Kald  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #22436)

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Distribution of Helvella elastica
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Species Information

{See also Elfin Saddle Table.} Features include a pale to dark brown saddle-shaped cap with a broad cleft between the two (or sometimes three) lobes, the margins not obscuring the young upper surface, smooth whitish underside, and round, whitish, hollow stem.

Collections were examined from BC, WA, ID, and also AB, MB, ON, PQ, SK, YT, AK, MI, MT, WY, and Sweden, (Abbott). Distribution also includes eastern North America, Europe, and Asia, (Abbott). It occurs in OR and extreme northwestern CA (Castellano).
0.5-4(6)cm across, typically saddle-shaped or miter-shaped with a broad shallow cleft between the lobes, but sometimes convex with little or no cleft, lobes free from stem or sometimes partially attached to it or to each other; brown to tan or grayish tan; smooth; margin straight or somewhat incurved toward stem, (Arora), 0.5-4cm across, 0.4-2cm high, (up to 4.5cm across and 4cm high when fresh), irregularly lobed to bilobate [with 2 lobes] and saddle-shaped or irregularly convex, sometimes slightly laterally compressed at first, margin reflexed [bent upward] from initial stages, may be appressed to stem but typically remaining free, rarely fused to stem; medium to dark brown or grayish brown when fresh, rarely slightly mottled with paler patches, when dried dark brown to blackish brown; slightly undulate-rugose [wavy-wrinkled] to smooth, (Abbott), 2-11cm high, "when very small broadly saddle-shaped, margins not covering the young hymenium", by maturity typically 2-(3-)lobed, often appearing tilted on the top of the stem, margins of each lobe recurved and folded one over the other, lobes typically separated by a broad cleft; pale to dark brown (black brown at high elevations, rarely white), (Castellano), dull yellow-brown to olive-brown or grayish brown (McKnight), buff to brown, sometimes with a violet tint (Trudell)
"thin, rather brittle", (Arora), elastic, whitish, (Lincoff(1))
whitish to buff or pale tan; smooth, not hairy, (Arora), white to pallid to pallid grayish white or pale yellow-brown when dried; bald, (Abbott), ivory to cream; bald, (Castellano)
(2)4-8(14)cm x (0.2)0.4-1.2cm, equal or widening downward, round to slightly flattened in cross-section, not chambered, sometimes curved; white to buff or pale yellowish-buff; smooth or indistinctly grooved at base but not fluted or ribbed, (Arora) 0.5-5cm x 0.2-0.5cm (up to 10.5cm long and 1.1cm wide when fresh), equal or enlarged at base, round in cross-section or fluted especially at base, may be slightly sulcate [grooved], internally hollow; white to cream or pale yellow-brown when dry; bald to finely pubescent or pubescent [downy], (Abbott), rounded in cross-section, often narrowing slightly to the top; ivory to cream or tinged with ocher near the base, (Castellano), white, sometimes with a reddish marking at base when mature; pruinose when young, (Lincoff(1))
none in particular (Lincoff(1))
none in particular (Lincoff(1))
spores 17.9-22 x 10.8-15 microns, broadly elliptic, smooth, with one droplet; asci 280 x 19 microns; paraphyses 5-7 microns wide at tip, clavate, enlarged gradually to tip, pale brown, contents finely granular, (Abbott), spores 18-22(24) x 10-14 microns, elliptic or oblong, smooth or warted, with one central oil droplet, (Arora), spores 18-23(24) x 11.5-13.5 microns, elliptic, smooth (occasionally with coarse warts on some spores when old); asci 8-spored, inamyloid, thin-walled, (Castellano)

Habitat / Range

single to gregarious on soil, litter, moss, or rarely rotted wood, in coniferous or mixed woods, from June 5 in ID to December 25 in coastal WA, (Abbott), single to widely scattered or gregarious "in woods or at their edges, particularly near streams and paths", (Arora), typically gregarious on soil under conifers in damp areas, May through December, (Castellano), July to early November; December to April in Southwest, (Lincoff(2)), in both conifer and hardwood forests (Trudell)

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


unknown (Arora), not recommended (Lincoff(2)), fair when cooked, never eat raw, (Lincoff(1))

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Abbott(1), Castellano(1)*, Arora(1), Lincoff(2)*, Lincoff(1)*, Miller(14)*, Schalkwijk-Barendsen(1)*, Courtecuisse(1)*, McKnight(1)*, Trudell(4)*, Sept(1)*, Buczacki(1)*, Marrone(1)*

References for the fungi

General References