Cap 2-6 cm broad, cup-shaped when young, becoming elongate-cupulate or saucer-like in age; margin wavy, often torn at maturity; incurved (toward the center) when young, sometimes recurved in age; inner fertile surface dry, dull, dark greyish-brown with scattered minute hairs; outer surface sterile, subpubescent, colored like the fertile layer when moist, but appearing lighter when dry; context thin, white, brittle; odor sharp, unpleasant, like that of a mouse cage; taste similar, unpleasant; stipe 1-5 cm long, 0.7-1.5 cm broad, equal to narrowed at the apex; surface pallid to white, more or less glabrous, conspicuously ribbed, fused to the base of the cup.
Spores 17.5-20 x 10.5-13.5 µm, elliptical, smooth, nonamyloid, with a large oil droplet, hyaline in KOH; spores hyaline.
Solitary to scattered in open areas under hardwoods; fruiting during the spring.
This is another in a group of inconspicuous spring-fruiting Helvellas. Helvella queletii resembles H. acetabulum, but the stipe ribs fuse at the base of the cup rather than extending upwards to the margin.