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Morchella esculenta

Common name:The Yellow Morel
Habitat: Found under cottonwood trees at lower elevations in the spring (February to June).
Comments:The yellow morel is a prized edible in all parts of the world. In Colorado it is generally found at lower elevations along river sides. It likes to grow in patches of poison ivy and just about every morel hunter has had a very bad case of poison ivy! I've found this species growing in unusual clump formations with 12 or more fruiting bodies growing within a two inch base. However, it usually grows as a single fruiting body. Be sure of your identification because there are a few 'false morels' that are very similar. A true morel will have a hollow interior and a fairly regular pattern of pits and ridges. All morels should be cooked well. They don't have a typical mushroom flavor, but rather a meat-like flavor. It has been reported that a chemical compound, probably some toxic derivative of methylhydrazine, is present in the raw mushroom and is removed by cooking. Some years the yellow morel is found in abundance while other years not a single morel can be found. Hunting morels can be discouraging since they are usually one of the few mushrooms that appear in the spring. So if you don't find any morels, you probably won't find any other mushrooms either. In addition, morels have a way of blending into their surroundings because many times they are the same color as the dry leaves in that area. I've seen people find a bunch of morels and after searching a bit longer find that they are actually walking on and squashing many other morels!

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Page Posted on August 6, 2006
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Mushroom Identification