Observation 165174: Morchella americana Clowez & C. Matherly
When: 2014-05-12
No herbarium specimen
0 Sequences

In old apple orchard. I believe the darker ones are imature specimens. Two small ones were found well within the drip line while the other darker one was within inches of the main trunk of a wind blown tree. The two “yellows” were approx. 8-10’ from the drip line.

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Phil, I think the shade/gray hypothesis…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-05-16 03:48:16 CDT (-0500)

sounds pretty good. For instance, I’ve been collecting morels under one particular apple tree for 20 years. It’s in a very sunny spot and always produces earlier than other trees in the same old orchard. Morels found under this tree are always yellow.

I have collected black morels in apple orchards… large ones in an orchard in Adams Co PA (probably angusticeps), and an unusual small rotund variety locally, under a large apple tree surrounded by large ash trees.

None of the morels seen in this obs (165174) represent any species of “black morels.”

Difficult to say, Phil.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2014-05-14 18:39:24 CDT (-0500)

Looks like the first three photos of ob. 133607 have whitish ridges (rest don’t). Ob. 133783 look like blonde morels which have started dessicating.

Try looking at M.O. 165184, 165174, and 165187. One of these obs. is completely different from all the others.

By: Phil Yeager (gunchky)
2014-05-14 18:20:35 CDT (-0500)

Check MO obs 133607 and obs 133783. Let me know what you think. Phil

Interesting point
By: Phil Yeager (gunchky)
2014-05-14 17:48:51 CDT (-0500)

I’m wondering if the colors may be due to the "grays being found under the trees and well within the drip line and therefore shaded from the sun, while the “yellows” were found in the open under full sunlight. In any event, we found six more today with “yellows” in the open area and"grays" under trees.
I think Dan has a good idea. therefore if I find some others after some rainfall, I will take photos and observe any changes over time. Thanks guys. PS. There was no noticeable rim on the darker specimens where the cap meets the stipe, and this feature eliminated M. angusticeps which I don’t believe is found in orchards. Dan, if you would like a specimen I will gladly mail some to you. Thanks again.

Actually, McIlvaine claimed that…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-05-14 16:56:25 CDT (-0500)

many apple orchards here in eastern NA were fertilized with wood-ash, to bring up the pH. Perhaps other longer-lasting soil sweetening methods.. limestone?… were also used. Soil in my area is generally on the acidic side. We have an acid rain problem here in the east. Interesting to me to hear that the same problem exists in OR. I had been under the impression that acid rain was predominantly an east coast problem.

I put a few miles on my boots today, and having found only two M. diminutiva, I had plenty of time to ponder the gray/yellow thing. Actually, it seems to me that some of the “grays” fail to turn yellow over time. But in the old orchards around here, it’s so typical (with some exceptions) to find the tight-pitted grays alongside the expanded yellows that one naturally takes for granted these represent the same species. Maybe some of the “grays” simply fail to mature normally? I’ve got Kuo’s “morel taxonomy” report. I’ll read through it to see what may have been determined about these morels formerly known as esculenta.

If it were simply a matter of observing differing macro-traits like one sees among the specimens in this obs, then I doubt anyone would have assigned a species name like “cryptica” (Kuo et al.).

I have seen morels change color.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2014-05-14 11:20:11 CDT (-0500)

Extremely fresh morels are nearly all pale colored, becoming rapidly brown, gray, or black as the hymenium starts to produce spores. I remember while commercially picking morels finding a caespitose clump of what I believed were Morchella crassipes. The clump weighed well over a pound, and had 5 sporocarps, but remained pale-colored for 20 hours. (Keeping it in cold storage probably didn’t help maturation.)

None form black interior pits with white ridges.

We have many apple orchards here in Oregon. I grew up near one of the original Stark nursery orchards which is nearly 150 years old. Parents had several apple trees in their yard. Had a smaller orchard, about 70 years old, 150 yards from my parents’ home. Never found a morel in the apple orchard in Oregon.

That may have something to do with soil pH. We have extremely acidic rainfall in Oregon. Limestone is rare. If this was growing in or on limestone (or other calcium deposits) that might account for the difference.

Daniel, what you have noticed…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-05-14 01:30:11 CDT (-0500)

is that the eastern NA morel formerly known as Morchella esculenta often begins as a small-pitted “gray morel” and matures into the “yellow morel.”

Other types of morels exhibit similar maturity-related color variations. Perhaps most dramatic of all is the western NA burn site morel, Morchella tomentsa. Morel hunters in the Rockies refer to these as “grays” and “blondes”, just as eastern hunters refer to the species seen in this obs as “grays” and “yellows.”

I believe that by “photographic proof” you mean photo-documentation of a single specimen that undergoes the color change. I know I have seen such a thing, but I don’t recall the source.

These do not appear to be the same species.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2014-05-13 23:57:48 CDT (-0500)

The blond appear to be one species; the white-ridged black ones another.

Do you have photographic proof that both “age” to the same color?

Phil, the ticks…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-05-13 21:33:29 CDT (-0500)

appeared around here about 8 years ago. First the wood ticks, then the deer ticks soon thereafter. They seem to be spreading west and north from east coast areas. I first encountered them in New Jersey beginning 20 years ago, when I started finding forest morels there.

By: Phil Yeager (gunchky)
2014-05-13 21:05:18 CDT (-0500)

pushing 71 and have been in the woods per se since I was about 8 years old. I never seen a tick on me until three years ago. I don’t think that they were as prevalent then as they are now. To repeat, we were in fields and woods approximately 10-12 hours a day; no computers then. I generally wear a long-sleved-shirt, and boots with jeans overlapping them. The ticks can enter thru ones collar, shirt sleeves, or any possible opening in your clothing. As for permethrin: a friend whom I pick mushrooms with uses it contantly. On some occasions he stated that after using it according to specifications, and sweating profusiously, he developed a severe itch and burning sensation.
If you are in the woods for long periods, they can become firmly attached to you. for short excursions I believe it best to remove all clothing, clean them outside and shower: not necesarily in that order.

By: AJ (j7u)
2014-05-13 20:34:22 CDT (-0500)

I’ve had about 10 tick bites so far this season. Erythema chronicum migrans showed up around one of the bites yesterday and I started doxycycline. DEET doesn’t seem to discourage them too much, maybe it’s time to go the permethrin route.

I haven’t needed to…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-05-13 19:41:03 CDT (-0500)

extract any ticks from my body this year. Karen picked one up on our property, while not wearing her Permethrin-treated pants. This stuff needs to be used very carefully, but it works.

Usually, the ticks dissipate as the temps climb into the 80s.

By: Phil Yeager (gunchky)
2014-05-13 19:36:48 CDT (-0500)

Al and I also spooked around in our favorite spots and have found nothing. In 2011 we found over 400 M. punctipes in one spot , but in the last few years, nothing: but we still search that area. I still have some spots that may prove to be worth searching after some rainfall.

By: Phil Yeager (gunchky)
2014-05-13 19:31:07 CDT (-0500)

I and Sandy have been out 2-3 times and we have more tick bites than morels. Al tondora is completely disgusted with the amount of ticks that have “become attached” to us.

Nice find, Phil.
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-05-13 19:16:53 CDT (-0500)

They are all prime specimens, and as you suggest in your notes, various stages of maturity are represented.

Check the spot again. We’re suppose to get a lot of rain Thursday night through Friday. If the spot hasn’t yet produced all of this year’s morels, then the next significant rain event should bring the rest. In the meantime, if the spot is close and easy to check, you may want to give a look Thursday, before the rain moves in.

Created: 2014-05-13 18:47:22 CDT (-0500)
Last modified: 2014-05-13 19:10:58 CDT (-0500)
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