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

Verpa conica (O.F. Muell.) Sw.
bell morel

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

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© May Kald  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #19814)

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Distribution of Verpa conica
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Species Information

Features include 1) an ocher-brown to darker brown or reddish brown, bluntly conic to bell-shaped cap that is attached to the stem only at the top, the cap surface smooth to slightly wrinkled, 2) a more or less equal stuffed stem that is whitish, often roughened by small orangish to brownish granules that may form transverse belts or ribs, 3) fruiting on ground in spring, and 4) large spores in 8-spored asci. It is probably that there is than one species going under this name in the Pacific Northwest.

Verpa conica has been found throughout eastern North America, and also in the Pacific Northwest, CO, and CA (Lincoff(2)). It is found in Switzerland (Breitenbach - rare). Collections from BC are deposited at Pacific Forestry Centre and the University of British Columbia. Collections from WA and OR are deposited at Oregon State University.
1-4cm across and high, "usually more or less thimble-shaped (broadly conic to bell-shaped), but sometimes lobed" and sometimes developing a depression at the top when old, attached to stem only at top, margin inrolled or incurved at first and sometimes touching stem (but not joined to it), often lobed, often flaring out or turning up when old; ocher-brown to brown or dark brown; smooth to slightly wrinkled, or in one form irregularly wrinkled, (Arora), entire fruitbody 3-13cm high, cap bell-shaped to thimble-shaped, irregularly wrinkled, sometimes also with cerebriform [brain-like] to reticulate [netted] convolutions; honey-brown to red-brown, (Breitenbach), smooth or with very fine net-like ridges, (McKnight)
"thin and rather brittle or fragile" (Arora), fragile (Breitenbach), white (Phillips)
pallid (Arora), ocher (Breitenbach)
(2.5)4-12cm x (0.4)0.5-1.5cm, equal or widening downward (or occasionally narrowing), "often rather spongy and usually stuffed with a loose cottony pith" (but often becoming hollow when old), more or less round in cross-section; "white to yellowish, tan, or tinged ocher-orange"; "smooth or with granular or minutely scaly transverse bands or ribs (granules often browner or oranger than background)", (Arora), 3.0-13.0 x 0.5-1.5cm, cylindric to slightly sinuous, hollow, free of cap all the way to the top; white to ocher; weakly banded horizontally with darker scales, (Breitenbach)
pleasant (Phillips), slight (Lincoff(1))
pleasant (Phillips), slight (Lincoff(1))
spores 28-34 x 15-19 microns, (Tylutki), spores 30-33 x 17-19 (R. Sieger, pers. comm. measured from eastern Washington), spores (20)22-30(34) x 12-17(19) microns, elliptic, smooth, without oil droplets; asci 8-spored, (Arora), spores (17)20-25 x 11-15 microns, broadly elliptic, smooth, colorless, sometimes with droplets on the ends (outside the spore wall); asci 8-spored, 250-350 x 18-23 microns, not blue with iodine; paraphyses septate, with slight clavate widening to 12 microns, branched near bases, (Breitenbach), spores 21-26 x 11-16 microns (Bessette)
Spore Deposit:
yellow (Phillips)

Habitat / Range

single, widely scattered, or gregarious in soil or humus in forests, riparian woodlands [by streams], under shrubbery and fruit trees, etc., usually in spring (Arora), single to gregarious along banks of rivers and streams, hedges, meadows, forest edges, April to May, (Breitenbach for Switzerland), hardwood woods and orchards, April-May, (Phillips), at edge of woods or in hedges, especially under the Rosaceae, (Lincoff(1))

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Gloeocystidiellum heterogeneum (Bourdot & Galzin) Donk
Peniophora heterogenea Bourdot & Galzin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Genetic information (NCBI Taxonomy Database)
Taxonomic Information from the World Flora Online
Index Fungorium
Taxonomic reference: Vtori Kongrespo Mikrobiologiya 4. Fromishlena Mikrobiologiya-Selskostoranska Mikrobiologiya (Second Congress of Microbiology 4. Industrial Microbiology - Farm Microbiology) 1969 (Sofit): 129. 1815

Additional Range and Status Information Links


edible when cooked (Arora), Verpas are traditionally parboiled, with water discarded prior to final preparation, (Benjamin)

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Arora(1)*, Breitenbach(1)*, Phillips(1)*, Lincoff(2)*, Lincoff(1)*, Trudell(4)*, Miller(14)*, McKnight(1)*, Schalkwijk-Barendsen(1)*, Benjamin(1), Tylutki(2), Bessette(2)*, AroraPocket*, Buczacki(1)*, Desjardin(6)*, Siegel(2)*, Marrone(1)*

References for the fungi

General References