Morel mushrooms currently only grow in the wild and attempts at artificial cultivation have not been successful.
This page seeks to give enough information to readers who hunt yearly for this treasure so they can safely pick a morel when they spot one.
Generally of a bright brown color, deeply pitted, spongy looking, cone-shaped or nearly round with its head supported on an erect white stem, the morel mushroom has varied species: the black, yellow and white species.These are native to north America but the yellow and black morels are most sought after.
The three common species of Morels:
The common Morel Mushrooms (Morchella esculenta)
This species has white ridges and dark brown pits when young. It is known as the white morel mushroom. As it ages, both the ridges and pits turn yellowish brown and it becomes a yellow morel.
Yellow morels appear in a wide variety of colors from light gray to dark gray, light tan to golden brown, pale yellow to dark brown.
The shape of the cap varies as well from tall slender and pointed to short and round.
The black or smoky Morel(Morchella elata)
Are gray or tan when young but darken with age until nearly black. The pits are brown and elongated.
The half free Morel(Morchella semilibera)
This species is unlike the other morels. The cap is attached at about the middle instead of being directly attached to the stem. This morel mushroom has a small cap and long bulbous stems.
Cap type: Cone shaped or nearly round
Stem type: Erect white stem
Habitat: Grows in woods, Grows on the ground
Flesh: Ganular or brittle
Habitat and Season
Mostly found during the months of April and May in the spring and early summer. Morel mushrooms have a variety of habitats including; grassy hillsides, sandy soils in strands of mixed woods, Apple, Ash, Cotton wood and Elm trees, also areas disturbed with limestone and shale or even sometimes along a running brook under some forest trees.
Morel mushrooms have been noted to cause poisoning symptoms to some extent when eaten raw or with alcohol. They should therefore not be eaten raw or taken with alcohol.
Beware of mushrooms that do not have true pits or cavities and are smooth, brain-like and shiny- they are often called “false” or “early” mushrooms. If you are a novice, then it is advisable to do the collection with an experienced hunter.0