Lindsay B. wrote today’s entry:
Thank you to Doug aka shyzaboy@Flickr for submitting today’s photograph (original | BPotD Flickr Group Pool)! For another Flickr submission of this same species, also see tovje@Flickr‘s image of Helvella crispa.
This striking ascomycete is characterized by its irregular pileus and fluted stem. One might think that its ethereal appearance influenced this species’ common name, elfin saddle, but it is perhaps derived from the original genus name given by Fries, Elvella.
Helvella crispa grows in grass and forest litter under conifer and hardwood forests. It is widely distributed in North America and Europe, and can also be found in China and Japan. Although closely allied with the morel, most mushroom guides suggest leaving Helvella crispa be as there have been some reports of this species causing gastrointestinal distress. It is also sometimes confused with some members of a related genus, Gyromitra, thought by some to be deadly poisonous. Fruiting times differ between the two taxa, however, with Gyromitra observed earlier in the year, followed by Helvella in late summer & early autumn.