Collection location: Bassetts, Sierra Co., California, USA [Click for map]
An underground (hypogeous) fungus, there were a few found this time. A number of people brought rakes with them to give it a try. This one is an asci, and the only hypogeous asci found this time.
In Field Guide to North American Truffles, E. muricatus typically has a peridum of at least 3mm thickness largely composed of pea-like locules containing spores. This specimen shows no locules in the peridium. However, both E. muricatus and E. granulatus are both complexes, and have numerous but poorly understood variations. I once found an Elaphomyces near Hood River, Oregon with spores that were both red and green! Oh, my aching eyes!
This looks more like E. granulatus, which does not have spores embedded in the peridium. E. muricatus does have clusters of spores occuring in the peridium. Or, since there are actuallly many Elaphomyces clustered under the names of both E. muricatus and E. granulatus, it could also be a completely different species. I think the genus is in need of substantial revision.