Karstenia 9: 11. 1969.
Common Name: pig's ear
Synonym: Discina perlata (Fr.) Fr.
Fruiting body sessile to short-stipitate, 1.5-9.0 cm broad, at first shallow-cupulate, in age centrally depressed, arched towards the margin, the latter conspicuously wavy; hymenial surface wrinkled to deeply furrowed, yellowish-brown to reddish-brown; exterior surface minutely hairy, whitish when fresh, drying pinkish-brown, wrinkled and furrowed like the hymenial surface; context firm, brittle, white, unchanging, up to 3.0 mm thick; odor not distinctive; taste mild.
Spores 28-34 x 12-16 µm excluding apiculate ends, the latter visible only at maturity and when mounted in water; spores ellipsoid, smooth, thin-walled, hyaline, with one large central and several smaller oil droplets; spores whitish in deposit.
Solitary, gregarious, or in small clusters on needle-covered soil or near rotting wood of montane conifers; known mostly from the Sierra Nevada; fruiting from spring to early summer; common.
Edible, and good according to the literature.
"Pig's ear" aptly describes the shape of this snowbank Ascomycete, a spreading, furrowed, wavy-margined cup. It is frequently encountered by Sierra morel hunters but rarely collected for the table despite its edibility. In addition to Gyromitra perlata, two other similar species traditionally placed in Discina may occur in California, D. macrospora and D. apiculata. Unfortunately these can only be distinguished from Gyromitra perlata with a microscope, the spores of D. macrosopora, as the species name suggests, being larger, while those of D. apiculata having apiculi that are rounded. Also similar to Gyromitra perlata, but uncommon, is Disciotis venosa. This morel relative differs from Gyromitra perlata in having a more erect cup-like form at maturity, a hymenial surface with distinctly raised wrinkles, and a slight bleach-like odor.
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