This is a slightly toxic but very unusual mushroom, one of the spore shooters that fire their spores out of their wrinkled caps rather than drop them from underneath.
|Common Names||Elfin Saddle (EN), Black Elfin Saddle, Black Helvella, Coesyn Rhychog Du (CY), Piestrzyca Zatokowata (PL), Szürke Papsapkagomba (HU)|
|Scientific Name||Helvella lacunosa|
|Average Mushroom height (CM)||10|
|Average Cap width (CM)||7|
Highly convoluted sheet extending out from the convoluted stem. Looks like something melted rather than a mushroom!
The stem looks like a tube that has pulled and pushed into wrinkles and hollows creating a series of cavities and buttresses, every mushroom quite unique.
Looks similar to the White Saddle (Helvella crispa), pictured, but this has a white cap unlike the grey look of the Elfin Saddle.
Helvella atra is similar in colour and shape but the stem is smoother, much less deeply grooved than the Elfin Saddle.
Common but often overlooked as their amorphous shape makes them hard to spot
The Helvellas are sometimes listed as edible but poor but research has shown some to cause upset stomachs and some to be carcinogenic. Not one for the table.