Helvella key

Key slightly modified from an published document authored by Brian Spooner (Kew).
1 Stipe ribbed and furrowed over its entire length, internally solid or chambered, sometimes very short, but with ribs often present on the underside of the cap 2
Stipe not ribbed (occasionally slightly grooved at base and/or apex), always well-developed 9
2 (1) Cap cupulate; stipe internally solid or chambered  (section Leucomelaenae) 3
Cap saddle-shaped or irregularly lobed and convex; stipe internally chambered (section Helvella) 6
3 (2) Ribs on stipe extending conspicuously to the underside of the cap, usually to at least half way 4
Ribs on stipe not or scarcely extending to the underside of the cap 5
4 (3) Hymenium brown to dark brown, sometimes with a violet tinge. Cap externally dark brown above, paler below. Ribs of stipe branching, usually sharp-angled, rarely interconnected by cross-veins, not reaching the margin of the cap. Fruiting in spring H. acetabulum
Hymenium grey-brown. Cap externally paler to margin. Ribs of stipe blunt, branching and often interconnected by cross-veins, often reaching the margin. Fruiting in summer and autumn (June to September) H. costifera
5 (3) Stipe short and broad, often indistinct, less than 1cm long, at least 8mm wide. Asci without croziers. Submature spores generally not present when most are mature H. leucomelaena
Stipe distinct, usually longer than 1cm & less than 7mm wide above. Ascus bases forked, with croziers. A mixture of mature and submature spores often present H. solitaria
6 (2) Hymenium whitish to cream; outer surface villose (distinctly hairy); edge of cap free from stem H. crispa
Hymenium grey-brown to blackish; outer surface smooth or at most finely pubescent; edge of cap free or in part fused with stem 7
7 (6) Stipe and outer surface pale greyish to nearly black. Cap saddle-shaped; edge of cap fused in part with the stipe. Outer surface smooth H. lacunosa
Stipe and outer surface whitish to pale brown. Cap saddle-shaped or slightly convex to lobed, edge of cap free or fused in part with the stipe. Under surface of cap covered with a network of raised veins, outer surface smooth or finely  pubescent 8
8 (7) Cap saddle-shaped to irregular in form, 1.5 - 4 cm broad; edge of cap fused in part with the stipe. Ascospores 17 - 21 x 11 - 13 µm in size. Associated with Populus spp. H. fusca
Cap simple, convex or lobed, 0.5 - 2 cm broad; edge of cap free from stem. Ascospores 15 - 17 x 10.5 - 12 µm in size. On calcareous soil in various places H. phlebophora
9 (1) Hymenial region cupulate; outer surface of cap villose 10
Hymenial region saddle-shaped or convex and irregularly lobed; outer surface of cap villose or smooth (section Elasticae) 13
10 (9) Ascospores ellipsoidal-fusiform, to 27 µm long  (section Macropodes) H. macropus
Ascospores with broadly rounded ends, to 22 µm long  (section Cupuliformae) 11
11 (10) Entire fruit-body blackish, outer surface villose, sometimes white-villose towards the margin of the cap. Fruiting in spring H. corium
Fruit-body not totally blackish, either stipe or hymenium or whole fruit-body  grey or cream; outer surface pubescent or villose. Fruiting in autumn 12
12 (11) Hymenium and underside cream to yellowish; stipe cream. Cap usually < 1 cm diam. H. cupuliformis
Hymenium and underside grey to grey-brown; stipe whitish to grey or brown. Cap commonly > 1 cm diam. H. dissingii
13 (9) Hymenium and stipe dark brown to black, underside of cap grey or grey-brown 14
Hymenium and underside of cap whitish to grey or brown, stipe whitish to pale grey-brown 15
14 (13) Outer surface of cap usually darker, grey-brown, markedly villose. Margin inrolled over hymenium H. pezizoides
Outer surface of cap usually paler, grey, glabrous to very finely pubescent. Margin reflexed towards stipe H. atra
15 (13) Hymenial margin reflexed towards the stipe and sometimes fused with it 16
Hymenial margin inrolled, never fused with the stipe 17
16 (15) Hymenium pale brown to brown, darker when dry, cap campanulate to simple saddle-shaped. Stipe slender, whitish to cream, finely pubescent. In woodland, fruiting in summer or autumn H. elastica
Hymenium dark brown to blackish, sometimes with purplish tinges when fresh, complex saddle-shaped. Stipe robust, white to pale grey, glabrous. In sand dunes, fruiting in spring H. leucopus
17 (15) Outer surface of cap and stipe markedly villose H. epihippium
Outer surface of cap smooth or finely pubescent; stipe pubescent to villose 18
18 (17) Hymenium whitish to fawn or pale brown, not drying black; stipe pubescent to villose H. latispora
Hymenium dark grey or grey-brown to blackish, drying black; stipe pubescent H. albella

Taxonomic term: 

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith