Elfin Saddle

Poisonous Poisonous
Autumn Autumn
Summer Summer

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.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Elfin Saddle (EN), Black Elfin Saddle, Black Helvella, Coesyn Rhychog Du (CY), Piestrzyca Zatokowata (PL), Sz├╝rke Papsapkagomba (HU)
Scientific Name Helvella lacunosa
Season Start Sep
Season End Nov
Average Mushroom height (CM) 3-10
Average Cap width (CM) 2-5
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


2-5 cm. Highly convoluted sheet extending out from the convoluted stem. Looks like something melted rather than a mushroom!


Invisible to the naked eye but on the outside surface of the cap.


3-10 cm long, 1-3 cm diameter. 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.


The whole fruitbody is a highly folded very thin sheet.


Woodland in grass or leaves.

Possible Confusion

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.

Spore Print

White, ellipsoid.


Common but often overlooked as their amorphous shape makes them hard to spot

Other Facts

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.


1 comment for Elfin Saddle

  1. Piotr says:

    I have tasted those and it was delicious, fried in the butter for 5 min. aparantely they are awesome when pickled

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