Habitat: on disused path/narrow dirt road bordered by Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) about 7-8 m tall, which is the dominant tree. Some other trees/shrubs are beginning to grow in the path, notably Alnus (Alder), plus 1-2 other species. Cuttings are shown in image 411093. There were no visible oak.
Growth habit: scattered
Substrate: soil
Odor: earthy
Taste: none
Cap color: top/outside black; bottom/inside: grey
Cap flesh consistency: rubbery
Stem: fluted to lacunose
For other characters, see photos
Other: white mycelia and small (0.5 cm) mycelial mat at base


shows 5 mushrooms, one (at the right) is split and shown in two cross-sections; color balance is inaccurate — colors shown best in 1st photo
cuttings from nearby deciduous trees/bushes

Proposed Names

32% (3)
Used references: This what we used to call Helvella lacunosa. See, e.g., Arora, Mushrooms Demystified (Ten Speed Press 2d ed. 1986); Trudell & Ammirati, Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest (Timber Press 2009).
But the latest thought is that H. lacunosa is a species complex and that the complex has two common species western North America: Helvella vespertina and Helvella dryophila. See Nhu Nguyen, Fidel Landeros, Roberto Garibay-Orijel, Karen Hansen and Else C. Vellinga. 2013. The Helvella lacunosa species complex in western North America: cryptic species, misapplied names and parasites. Mycologia 105(5): 1275–1286. DOI: 10.3852/12-391; see generally Michael Beug, Alan E. Bessette, Arleen R. Bessette, Ascomycete Fungi of North America: A Mushroom Reference Guide, 170-71 (Univ. of Texas Press 2014)
Helvella dryophila fruits in spring and is primarily an oak associate. Id. H. vespertina is a conifer associate, which is “fall–fruiting”. p. 170.
57% (1)
Recognized by sight: Personal communication from Michael Beug; also note date of fruiting and contrast between stem and cap. Nguyen et al. say: “Helvella dryophila looks similar to H. vespertina, but the contrast in color between pileus and stipe is striking; the pileus is very dark and squat and rounded with distinct well defined grooves when young (FIG. 1A–C), and the ascomata are up to 85 mm high. We could not find any reliable microscopic differences.”

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Created: 2014-03-24 00:11:59 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2014-05-22 22:15:34 CDT (-0400)
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