|California Fungi—Verpa conica
(Photo: © Fred Stevens)
Kongliga Svenska Vetenskaps-Akademiens nya handlingar ser. 3 v. 3: 130. 1815.
Thimble Fungus, Bell Morel
Cap 1.5-3.5 cm tall, 2-3.5 cm broad, conic, becoming obtuse-conic to bell-shaped in age, smooth to shallowly folded (but not wrinkled), attached only at the stipe apex; margin at first inrolled, irregular to wavy in outline, often slightly recurved in age; upper surface fertile, glabrous, dull brown when young, light-brown to ochraceous at maturity; lower surface sterile, pallid, matted tomentose to subpubescent; context thin, whitish, unchanging when cut or injured; odor not distinctive; taste mild.
Stipe 4-10 cm tall, 1-2.5 cm thick, fragile, round to somewhat flattened, occasionally folded or grooved at the base, equal to narrowed at the apex, often becoming curved in age; stuffed cottony when young, typically hollow at maturity; surface glabrous, developing buff-colored, appressed scales at maturity.
Spores 25-33 x 15-19 µm, elliptical, smooth; asci 8-spored; spore deposit not seen.
Solitary or in small groups under hardwoods/conifers along stream banks; in the S.F. Bay Area occasionally in ice-plant (
spp.); fruiting in the spring.
Edible, of fair quality.
Distinguishing features of this Ascomycete include a brown to ochraceous-brown conic cap, often with a wavy margin, a pileus attached only at the stipe apex, and a pallid stipe usually with appressed, pale ochraceous scales. Another species,
has a distinctive wrinkled cap and is sometimes confused with distantly related morels (
spp.) which have pitted/ridged caps. Indeed,
is sometimes sold in markets under the name "Spring Morel" or "Early Morel," though it lacks both the texture and flavor of true morels (
spp.). Morels, (except for
) can easily be told from
by a cap margin that is fused (not free) to the stipe. The exception to the rule,
, has a cap that is fused approximately halfway to the apex.
Breitenbach, J. & Kränzlin, F.
(1984). Fungi of Switzerland. Volume 1: Ascomycetes. Verlag Mykologia: Luzern, Switzerland. 310 p.
Desjardin, D.E., Wood, M.G. & Stevens, F.A.
(2015). California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide. Timber Press: Portland, OR. 560 p.
(2006). Ascomiceti d'Italia. Centro Studi Micologici: Trento. 454 p.
(1978). The North American Cup-Fungi (Operculates). Lubrecht & Cramer: Moncticello, N.Y. 377 p.
(1988). A Morel Hunter's companion. Two Penninsula Press: Lansing, MI. 288 p.
Other Descriptions and Photos
(D & CP)
Northern Ireland Fungus Group:
Arora (1986): p. 794 (D), p. 795 (P)
Arora (1991): p. 239 (CP)
Jordan: p. 57 (D & CP)
Lincoff: p. 329 (D), plate 708 (CP)
Miller: sp. 389 (D & CP)
Orr & Orr: p. 35 (D)
Phillips: p. 303 (D & CP)
Smith & Weber: sp. 12 (D & CP)
Tylutki (1979): p. 42 (D & P)
Weber: p. 127 (D), plate 10 (CP)
(D=Description; I=Illustration; P=Photo; CP=Color Photo)
The Fungi of California
Copyright © 1998-2019 Michael Wood & Fred Stevens