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Yellow Morel

Edible Edible
Spring Spring

If you are very lucky, you will find this far from common, excellent tasting mushroom in Spring. All Morels must be well cooked before consumption.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Yellow Morel, True Morel, Common Morel
Scientific Name Morchella esculenta
Synonyms Morchella rotunda, Morchella crassipes
Season Start Apr
Season End May
Average Mushroom height (CM) 20
Average Cap width (CM) 15
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Cap

Conical or ovate with a network of irregular ridges and pits looking honeycomb-like. The cap is hollow and joined to the stem at its edge. It is yellow, paling with age usually with lighter ridges. Sometimes it discolours to ochre or rusty orange where bruised or with aging.  Size and colour can vary greatly within this particular mushroom, many varieties have been described by mycologists.

 

Stem

White/cream, hollow sometimes widening towards a bulbous base. Uneven furrows run vertically up the stem.

Flesh

Fairly thin, white on the inside. It has a faint pleasant smell that intensifies after drying.

Habitat

Open woods, pastures, gardens, wasteland, gravel and often on verges between roads and woods or fields. Also on sand dunes. It is mostly reported from poor alkaline soils such as chalk and limestone.

Possible Confusion

The False Morel, pictured, but this is more lobed or brain-like rather than the pitted and honeycomb like cap of the morel. The False Morel also differs in not having a completely hollow cap.
The Black Morel can be similar, even in colour when young, but usually the ridges are arranged in fairly regular vertical lines, unlike the completely random honeycomb of the Yellow Morels. The ridges on the Black Morel also become darker than the rest of the cap with age, unlike the paler ridges of Yellow Morels.
The Common Morel is very closely related to the Yellow Morel. It is usually more grey in colour specially when young. The ridges of the cap are thicker and the pits are more irregular and labyrinthic in shape. The Yellow Morel has thinner edges and polygonal shaped pits. Intermediate forms exist that may be hard to differentiate at the very young or very mature stage.
The “Yellow Morels” are a large group (technically called a clade or section) of very similar species, and mycologists still¬† haven’t established exactly how many species exist, their distribution, and how they differ from each other. The forager shouldn’t worry about precise distinction as all Yellow Morels seem to be excellent edibles.

Spore Print

Pale cream to yellow. Ellipsoid.

Taste / Smell

Excellent, strongly mushroomy and even meaty. Must be well cooked before consumption. All Morels are poisonous when raw or undercooked causing gastric upsets and other alarming symptoms.

Frequency

Uncommon.

Other Facts

While highly sought after, this can be a difficult mushroom to go out looking for and is usually found accidentally while looking for other edibles.
Although there are recipes at the bottom of the page the Yellow Morel is such a delicious and hard to find mushroom that it is best simply cooked in butter and seasoned. As pointed above it just needs to be well cooked, so no lightly tossed Morels.

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