Observation 199901: Morchella Dill. ex Pers.

When: 2014-05-19

Collection location: North Middlesex, Sylvan, Southwestern Ontario, Canada [Click for map]

43.158° -81.8095°

Who: Kathryn Lapenskie (WildForager)

No specimen available

Growing in grass in old-growth Carolinian forest. Found in damper areas/lower elevations in proximity to bogs.

Proposed Names

46% (4)
Recognized by sight: Esculenta is a European name. Americana is the current name for the most common eastern NA “esculenta.” There is at least one other name applied to a species which is virtually macro-identical.
59% (2)
Recognized by sight

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
Terri, I don’t follow the relevant literature very closely.
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2015-03-01 15:22:47 CST (-0600)

In fact, interacting here on MO is my way of keeping abreast of the ever-changing fungal nomenclature. It was as per a few discussions here that I was convinced to use the names americana and ulmaria.

It wasn’t long after I had read the summary of Kuo’s Morchella species when the name californica started to supplant my esculentoides proposals. Eventually, everyone seemed to agree on americana.

It seems to be an open question as to range and frequency of ulmria. “Flattened ridges” is a trait that some have attributed to ulmaria. But I agree, given the unlikelihood of distinguishing between americana and ulmaria, Morchella is the best name to apply here.

From what I have gathered, the name ulmaria is best applied to large yellow morels found in forests that feature ash trees. But I have found morels with consistently flattened ridges in a wooded area where american elm are dying off a few every year. So maybe these are an example of ulmaria obs 165336 .

I haven’t read that ulmaria has been applied to any collections made in apple orchards. Also, my collections from orchards tend to lack the really pronounced large flattened ridges. So I generally call my apple orchard morels americana.
obs 165187 .

Only a couple months away :-)

Dave, I see now where you are coming from
By: Terri Clements/Donna Fulton (pinonbistro)
2015-03-01 13:57:19 CST (-0600)

in your references to M. americana and M. ulmaria below. According to Wikipedia: “In 2014, Richard et al. clarified the taxonomic status of this species, retaining the name Morchella americana of Clowez (2012) over M. esculentoides.” They also retained M. ulmaria over M. cryptica. Names aside it is still true that (Wikipedia): “In the Great Lakes region of eastern North America, the range of M. esculentoides overlaps with M. cryptica, which cannot be reliably distinguished from M. esculentoides without DNA sampling.”

My question is why haven’t the latter two names been deprecated as synonyms on MO? I’m guessing that there isn’t general agreement on that point or that there is some lag time in the process. Any clarification on this would be appreciated.

Regardless it looks like Morchella is the best we can do on this obs and others in the region where the two species overlap.


I’ve been calling my large yellow morels americana.
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2015-02-28 15:27:42 CST (-0600)

But it would not be much of a surprise if someone presents a convincing argument for this name to be changed. I kinda like the name americana, because this morel apparently occurs throughout most of North America. (I believe this is supported by molecular evidence.) One name used for a short time was Morchella californica. The study supporting this name may have predated Kuo and/or Clowez. I assume the researchers believed they were studying a western NA Morchella species, but it turned out that the DNA matched collections made across the continent.

I think ulmaria and cryptica probably refer to the same species. M. prava is also similar.

M. diminutiva is the name currently applied to the smallish yellows/grays that tend to occur in healthy hardwood forests. Most people seem to find them under tulip poplar and/or white ash. I have also found them in two separate locations where black cherry trees mix with healthy apple trees. Midwestern and eastern hunters used to call these “deliciosas.” There is at least one cryptic species for these small forest yellows, M. virginiana.

M. americana is listed as current name in both IF and Mycobank.
By: Terri Clements/Donna Fulton (pinonbistro)
2015-02-28 14:59:30 CST (-0600)

M.esculentoides and M. cryptica are not listed in IF but are listed as current names in Mycobank. Interestingly if you hit the link to IF for each of these later names you’re taken to M.diminutiva on IF for some unknown reason (tom me). In the preliminary online version of the paper by Kuo etal 4/2012 these latter three spp are described as new species along with two others in the yellow morel clade. It appears that the the Clowez & Matherly publication was the same year in a French journal. Perhaps there is a time lag before this is sorted out? At this point it doesn’t seem clear whether or not M. americana is an older name for the same species.

PS Posted after initial comment: Thanks to whoever updated IF to now include M. cryptica and M. esculentoides. It is still the case at this writing that the link to IF from each of these names on Mycobank brings one to M. diminutiva.

Kuo et al proposed the name esculentoides…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2015-02-28 07:05:32 CST (-0600)

for the “common” large yellow/gray NA morel. But the name americana had been previously proposed by Clowez & Matherly, so the older name prevailed. Morchella ulmaria is another name applied to the robust NA yellows. Not sure if this is the same as the cryptica of Kuo.

Not sure where M. americana
By: Terri Clements/Donna Fulton (pinonbistro)
2015-02-27 19:52:24 CST (-0600)

fits but Kuo says M. cryptica and M. esculentoides are not separable on a macro basis. Both occur in the obs locale.


Created: 2015-02-27 10:24:10 CST (-0600)
Last modified: 2015-03-01 12:47:31 CST (-0600)
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