Black Saddle

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The saddle fungi are an interesting group related to the morels, both ‘spore shooters’.  The spores develop in sacks beneath the surface and are expelled when ripe (Roger Phillips). The morels are sought after by the foragers but the saddles look – and are – much less appetising  and probably contain dangerous carcinogens.

We spotted this amongst the leaf litter in late November.  There are a couple of black saddle fungi we thought it might be: Helvella lacunosa (the Elfin Saddle) or H. atra. The grooved stem maybe suggests H. Lacunosa though the stem isn’t as bulky or as pocketed as it is in most of the pictures we looked at and the cap is less contorted – maybe a younger specimen? The cap more resembles the H. atra pictures we’ve seen but that has smooth stems. Maybe someone more expert can enlighten us.

 

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