Monday, May 9, 2011

Good Year for Morels

One of the most identifiable organisms of the eastern deciduous forest, the morel is reaching its peak season in eastern Ohio.  This has apparently been a good growing season for morels as I have encountered more than in year past.  White morels are commonly found under dead elm and apple trees where their mycelium take up residence in decaying roots. I have found them under decaying tulip poplar and maple as well.  This individual was approximately 4-5 inches in height and about 1.5 inches in width.  In a week or so the ascus (dimpled cap) will begin to darken and wither releasing spores.  One way morels differ from the traditional "toad stool" mushroom is by lack of a protective cap called a basidium which protects spores and allows for a more aerodynamic release. 

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