Helvella is a genus of ascomycete fungus of the family Helvellaceae. The mushrooms, commonly known as elfin saddles, are identified by their irregularly shaped caps, fluted stems, and fuzzy undersurfaces. They are found in North America and in Europe. Well known species include the whitish H. crispa and the grey H. lacunosa. They have been reported to cause gastrointestinal symptoms when eaten raw.[1]

Helvella crispa 031130w.jpg
Helvella crispa
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Class: Pezizomycetes
Order: Pezizales
Family: Helvellaceae
Genus: Helvella
Type species
Helvella crispa
(Scop.) Fr. (1822)


Species in Helvella have fruiting bodies (technically ascocarps) that grow above the ground, and usually have stems. The cup-like fruiting body (the apothecium) can assume a variety of forms: it may be shaped like an ear (auriculate), or a saddle; it may be convex or irregularly lobed and bent. The spore-bearing surface, the hymenium, can be smooth, wavy or wrinkled and can range in color from white to black or various shades of gray or brown. Similarly, the outer surface of the fruiting bodies can be smooth, ribbed, or have minute hairlike projections (villi). The stem is cylindrical and tapering or grooved and ribbed. The flesh is usually between 1–2 mm thick.[2]


As of February 2016, Index Fungorum accepts 105 species of Helvella:[3]

H. acetabulum
H. costifera
H. ephippium

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ammirati, Joseph F.; Traquair, James A.; Horgen, Paul A. (1985). Poisonous mushrooms of the northern United States and Canada. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 259. ISBN 0-8166-1407-5.
  2. ^ Abbott SP, Currah RS (1997). "The Helvellaceae: systematic revision and occurrence in northern and northwestern North America". Mycotaxon. 62: 1–125.
  3. ^ Kirk PM. "Species Fungorum (version 29th January 2016). In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life". Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  4. ^ a b Nguyen NH, Landeros F, Garibay-Orijel R, Hansen K, Vellinga EC (2013). "The Helvella lacunosa species complex in western North America: cryptic species, misapplied names and parasites". Mycologia. 105 (5): 1275–86. doi:10.3852/12-391. PMID 23709487. S2CID 38126706.
  5. ^ Korf RP. (2008). "Nomenclatural notes. 12. Untangling hedwig's Octospora villosa: Helvella fibrosa comb. nov". Mycotaxon. 103: 307–12.
  6. ^ Filippa M, Baiano G (1999). "Helvella juniperi sp. nov. new species collected on the Tyrrhenian coast". Rivista di Micologia (in Italian). 42 (2): 99–118.
  7. ^ Asef, M.R. (2013) The genus Helvella in Iran. Mycologia Iranica. 1(1). 9-13
  8. ^ Landvik, Sara; Kristiansen, Roy; Schumacher, Trond (1999). "Pindara: a miniature Helvella". Mycologia. 91 (2): 278–85. doi:10.2307/3761373. JSTOR 3761373.
  9. ^ Cao JZ, Liu B (1990). "A new species of Helvella from China". Mycologia. 82 (5): 642–43. doi:10.2307/3760054. JSTOR 3760054.

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