Observation 35136: Morchella americana Clowez & C. Matherly

When: 2010-03-27

Collection location: Bidwell Park, Chico, California, USA [Click for map]

Who: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)

Specimen available


[admin – Sat Aug 14 01:58:30 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ‘Bidwell Park, Chico, CA, USA’ to ‘Bidwell Park, Chico, California, USA

Proposed Names

33% (4)
Recognized by sight: round form with pale edges to honeycomb. growing with dead ash.
-29% (1)
Recognized by sight: type species for newly published name in the French Mycological Journal,
“Bulletin de la Societe Mycologique de France,” Tome 126, fascicules 3 and 4, 2012.
once it has cleared various taxonomic hurdles, I’ll remove the nom. prov.
49% (3)
Recognized by sight: for Else.
-29% (1)
Recognized by sight: this morel has been DNA determined to be a synonym of Morchella rigida. But Clowez’ Morchella americana, which takes precedence over Kuo’s esculentoides, is so closely related to rigida that the older name may take precedence over the entire group, so all of those esculentoides/americana obsies should become americana/rigida group for now, and possibly ALL rigida in the future (even tho I really like americana as a name for this most common blonde in NA!) :)
Used references: Ascomycete Fungi of North America, Michale Beug, Alan and Arlene Bessette. 2014, University of Texas Press.
Based on chemical features: recent DNA analysis shows match to European M. rigida.
86% (1)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight: synonymous with esculentoides, populina and rigida.
Used references: True morels (Morchella, Pezizales) of Europe and North America: evolutionary relationships inferred from multilocus data and a unified taxonomy
Franck Richard, Jean-Michel Bellanger, Philippe Clowez, Regis Courtecuisse, Karen Hansen, Kerry O’Donnell, Mathieu Sauve, Alexander Urban, and Pierre-Arthur Moreau
Mycologia 2014 14-166; Preliminary version published online: December 30, 2014, doi:10.3852/14-166
Based on chemical features: DNA identical with above named species. types specimen of rigida unusable for DNA, name in little use, americana was chosen to represent both American and European examples of this species.

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

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
Finally got a chance today to read…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2013-06-01 20:48:30 CDT (-0400)

my Spring 2013 edition of FUNGI magazine, which includes a nice analysis of the whole morchella nomenclature problem. Like you said Debbie, looks like more work is necessary.

Thanks for the explanation Debbie.
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2013-05-31 01:18:06 CDT (-0400)

And I agree with your assessment that this name game can be a bit amusing. As we struggle to form consensus about what to call these things, it’s easy to lose sight of this.

Like Walt says, this is a strange looking morel, at least as compared to the typical eastern NA large yellow type. It reminds me of the photo of “Morchella vulgaris” in the Simon and Schuster field guide. I suppose this is all part of the problem… macro/micro/molecular considerations. Personally, I’m rooting for the “Morchella americana” label, as this appears to best represent the most common NA yellow morel. But I think it would also be appropriate (although perhaps not in keeping with the rules) that all the people who, over the years, have contributed to settling upon the name should receive some sort of official credit.

Strange looking morel
By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2013-05-30 20:07:32 CDT (-0400)

I don’t know exactly why but the broad look of the fertile area catches my eye.

I agree…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2013-05-30 19:18:29 CDT (-0400)

but the first valid name for a unique species is the one that gets greenlighted. Stop me if I’m wrong.

Turns out that Clowez and Matherly’s Morchella americana is genetically identical to californica, and IMO is a better fit for a name. If it turns out that the DNA is a match for all of these competing species names with the way prior published M. rigida, then we all (at least we modern authors) lose our naming rights to this one!

Esculentoides was fine, too, but of course, not published first.

But where the final name ends up…not my call.

I am more amused by all of this than desperate for the honor. ;)

And yes, Clowez did treat californica at first as a Western species, associated with ash. All I did was mail him an interesting morel and my collection data.

I am eagerly awaiting a new paper on this very morel topic from France, authored by both Clowez and O’Donnell (first author on the 2011 Kuo morel paper on the phylogeny of true morels). There should be a good bit of DNA data within, to supplement Clowez’ original descriptions.

We are all playing wait and see here.

Debbie, since your name appears…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2013-05-30 18:29:32 CDT (-0400)

as one of the authors of this species, I believe you are the correct person to ask… When this species name was first adopted, was it the result of a study that sought to classify the large classic yellow morel in a broad (say, North American) sense, or was there an underlying assumption that the classification was to apply specifically to a west coast NA species?

I understand the rules. But it seems silly to name a mushroom “californica” when the species occurs mainly east of the Rockies.

now appearing in Index Fungorum! ;)
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2013-05-30 17:22:42 CDT (-0400)


But there is still some uncertainty on which proposed morel specific (californica or americana or esculentoides or the very first (1897) proposed name for an almost identical species, M. rigida (but this with some apparent DNA differences from the other three) will win this “battle of the latin names.”

Only one can.

Stay tuned.

ordering the issue
By: else
2012-06-14 20:32:40 CDT (-0400)

the issue of this journal could be ordered from the french mycological society.
and this was how it was till a few years ago – paper journals or books. nothing new under the sun.

and to be clear – these names have been published; the names in the article by Kuo et al. are still in press. The French ones have priority.

By: BlueCanoe
2012-06-14 19:10:42 CDT (-0400)

It’s disappointing that the Clowez article is published (in French) in a journal that apparently isn’t online. Anywhere else one might learn about this new species concept?

Great … more names
By: Patrick Harvey (pg_harvey)
2012-06-14 18:58:46 CDT (-0400)

How will this name align with those published April by the group which included Michael Kuo and others?

why the nom. prov.?
By: else
2012-06-14 18:13:26 CDT (-0400)

this has been published, as far as i can see, meeting all standards of the rules for botanical nomenclature, so i don’t understand why there is still nom. prov. after the name.

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