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Types of Mushrooms
Mushroom Identification Tips
The morel mushroom (Morchella) ranks at the top of the edible mushroom list.
Mushroom hunters know them as spring fruiting fungus, often associated with either recent burn areas or deciduous forests, although they can be found in coniferous forests.
While morel mushrooms grow in a variety of habitats, finding them can be difficult. It's probably more accurate to say that morels pick humans rather than the other way around.
Without practical knowledge about specific morel growing spots, often gained by year after year success with a specific location, mushroom pickers can literally walk themselves in circles around potential growing spots without finding any.
Sometimes not looking for them helps. That's the time they begin to pop up on the side of the road somewhere.
Morels are found throughout the United States, with the exception of the desert Southwest.
While there are a few different species, their unique look makes them easy to identify.
They can grow large, over six inches with stem. Generally two types can be found, easily differentiated by the shape of the honeycomb patterned cap.
The top picture shows a yellow morel with a round cap.
The second picture shows the black morel with its shorter and pointy cap.
Yellow and black morels contain a toxic substance so they cannot be consumed raw. Cooking them easily removes the toxin.
Like boletes, morels retain their flavor when dried. Unlike boletes, they are hollow on the inside.
© 2008-2011 Patricia A. Michaels