Observation 90709: Morchella esculentoides M.Kuo, Dewsbury, Moncalvo & S.L.Stephenson

When: 2012-03-22

Collection location: Kahite Trail, Vonore, Tennessee, USA [Click for map]

35.0° 84.0°

Who: Christine Braaten (wintersbefore)

No specimen available

Habitat: found on soil, directly under a stand of Eastern Red Cedars, but there are some very young deciduous trees beginning to come up in the area.

Species Lists


Last year’s morels (March 2012)
Last year’s morels (March 2012)
Last year’s morels (March 2012)
Last year’s morels (March 2012)
Juniperus virginiana dominated stand of trees
Juniperus virginiana dominated stand of trees

Proposed Names

64% (13)
Recognized by sight
43% (11)
Recognized by sight
-31% (6)
Recognized by sight: I see what appears to be a butressed stem and some reddish discoloration
Used references: mushroom observer
72% (5)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight: Most widely distributed, multiple associates (elm, apple, ash, even pine), non rufescent pale ridges, non-vertically arranged pits asymetrical/irregular pits. Could be M. prava or M. cryptica
Used references: Kuo et al. (2012)
-27% (3)
Recognized by sight: identical to esculentoides but with prior publication.

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

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
it is not available online and it isn’t cheap to order, either.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2013-03-23 11:46:03 CDT (-0500)

I have a copy here, but I got mine for free! ;) The long article, “Les Morilles, Une Nouvelle Approche Mondiale du Genre Morchella,” takes up the entire Bulletin de la Societe Mycologique de France, Tome 126, fascicules 3 et 4, 2010.

Philippe Clowez, the author of this extensive paper, named the species with very little details. You are better off reading Kuo’s description. Nonetheless, californica predates esculentoides; they are genetically identical.

Another publication
By: Christine Braaten (wintersbefore)
2013-03-23 11:30:40 CDT (-0500)

I’d heard there was another paper, as yet I’ve only read Kuo’s.

the species was named by Clowez from a CA specimen…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2013-03-23 11:04:37 CDT (-0500)

but it occurs in other places, too.

It is genetically identical to esculentoides.

Note the gross similarities to your morel:


Morchella californica
By: Christine Braaten (wintersbefore)
2013-03-23 10:58:10 CDT (-0500)

out here in the mountains in Tennessee?

yes, many thanks Irene..
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-03-25 14:10:16 CDT (-0500)

you are, as always, a Gentlewoman and a Scholar. :)

even better
By: Robert Sasata (Sasata)
2012-03-25 13:59:35 CDT (-0500)

thanks Irene

Same paper
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2012-03-25 13:56:35 CDT (-0500)
By: Robert Sasata (Sasata)
2012-03-25 13:51:40 CDT (-0500)

send me a note with your email and I can send you a PDF.

too bad it’s pay-view.
By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2012-03-25 13:44:55 CDT (-0500)

I’ve been anxious to get my paws on this, I suppose I could pay but I assume that means not posting the info elsewhere?

By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2012-03-25 13:03:49 CDT (-0500)

I think this wil work.


nice Walt!
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-03-25 11:17:02 CDT (-0500)

I was looking for my notes on a talk about that paper, pre-pub, yesterday. Good to know that it is published and accessible somewhere, finally.

Your link below doesn’t work, though.

Best I can do is just link to my write-up of Todd’s talk to BAMS in Sept. 2011 about this morel study, where I tried to pull out the important points w/out giving anything away (pre-pub):


from the other current morel ongoing discussion
By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2012-03-24 15:12:10 CDT (-0500)

Created: 2012-03-24 17:07:52 ADT (-0300)
By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt) [Edit | Destroy]
Summary: Thanks Irene

That is the study which I have not read. The link to http://www.sciencedirect.com/…;
is where the 19 North American species were listed, 11 in the west. 6 in the east and two overlapping.

There is alot of information in these discussions
By: Christine Braaten (wintersbefore)
2012-03-24 13:40:49 CDT (-0500)

I’ve learned alot and am glad that my lovely morels from East Tennessee have gotten so much attention and spent so much time on the first page of MO,
Thanks guys!!

who knew
By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2012-03-24 12:53:27 CDT (-0500)

there’d be so much ego in mycology.

By: damon brunette (damonbrunette)
2012-03-24 11:08:21 CDT (-0500)

Debbie, lets not assume that everyone is assuming the worst until we at least have some scope work done and/or DNA studies on these assumptions.
This may even be a species of “Potus calling the Kettlus Blackii”

Hi Christine…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-03-24 10:59:00 CDT (-0500)

Funny how some of these sightings just seem to take on lives of their own, eh?

Really guys, can we chill on the insults? We all have our own opinions, and that’s fine. Everybody has different taste perceptions; so what? Let’s not always assume the worst.

Yes, micro-wildlife can be profuse in our little fungal friends. You really do need a high tolerance for alternative proteins, when you eat wild mushrooms.

Thanks for the yellow morel feedback, Dave. I will admit to knowing beans about Eastern morels, though I do remember how fun it was to find them, the first time I went hunting with a friend in Wisconsin, back when I was just a birder!

These days, just like Gerhard, it’s pretty much “catch and release”, although I do make some exceptions, like for velosas.

Debbie, the “yellow morels”
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2012-03-24 10:45:42 CDT (-0500)

of eastern NA often stain rusty brown, especially in age. This is true of at least a few types, including the large type which may or may not be classifiable as “esculenta”. (One need watch what one says around here : – ) and the smaller type, called by some heretics “deliciosa” … also “Tulip Morel” (although they associate with trees other than Tulip Poplar).

As for the yellow morel/arsenic problem, as many of us are aware it’s due to the pesticide lead arsenate which was used in apple orchards for about 100 years up to about 1960. I do hunt old orchards here in NE PA. (I no longer check any in NY or NJ.) I purchased a lead test kit and checked the soil in my local orchards. Presence of arsenic is expensive/difficult to test, but lead is cheap/easy. I figure that, for a given orchard, there is arsenic if and only if there is lead. So I think these local orchards of mine (mainly one or two acre plots on old family farms) are safe.

How do you know
By: Gerhard Koller (Gerhard)
2012-03-24 05:48:47 CDT (-0500)

I have never eaten one from your country?
I have been to the U.S. back in 2003 and thankfully it was A VERY GOOD mushroom season back then. In fact, I have never seen that much treasure before and after. I stayed in the Appalachians in N.C. (Smokey Hills). There I tasted Cantharellus appalachiensis, cinnabarinus, ignicolor, minor and a great number of Boletes, e.g. Xanthoconium separans which I think is close to Boletus pinophilus of my home country in taste and appearance, and Boletus nobilis. The best is Boletus frostii in gestalt as well as taste although most of people would not dare to eat red-pored Boletes anyway.
Unfortunately no digital photos of this trip but some finds you can find here on MO just for documentation.
And I have to say in general I do not like king boletes or “porcini” – they are too strong a shroomy flavor for me. I prefer mild ones like morels or Amanita caesarea, Hygrophorus hypothejus and lucorum and similar ones. And I am more and more taking distance of eating mushrooms at all since they are my “brothers and sisters” and if you take a closer look in the microscope and recognize all those nematods and other micro things well you can imagine …

Gerhard. Hopefully your
By: damon brunette (damonbrunette)
2012-03-23 18:29:05 CDT (-0500)

ID skills are not as flawed as your taste buds. Porcini and chanterelle vary tremendously in taste from geographical locations.
It’s very…. How would you say it?…‘daring’ to make such assertions. Borderline bizarre. You’ve never eaten one from this country and deem it to be the same? This is your scientific side I presume.
We order porcini from around the world, Croatia , Italy, morocco, Turkey, Finland because our US variety is less pungent and on the east coast riddles with maggots.
Case in point , Tuber Magnatum goes for 3000 a pound from the piedmont region and nowhere else. Why do you surmise this might be?

Yeah, that is known long since.
By: Gerhard Koller (Gerhard)
2012-03-23 11:42:44 CDT (-0500)

What I am referring to is much more dramatic even to causing cancer and so on. But as stressed out I do not know what to think of this.
I have no immediate probs and keep eating them too altho this year I do not think to get some. It is awfully dry where I live and season once more is over before it started. It is getting worse from year to year!

they are certainly poisonous when raw…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-03-23 11:26:56 CDT (-0500)

and some folks develop an allergic sensitivity to eating them, and they also can concentrate heavy metals, esp. when harvested from old orchards where arsenic was used on the trees.

The more popular they become and the more folks that eat them, the more incidents of problems you will have. I still feel pretty comfy with them by and large, though, and I don’t consider them to be a dangerous mushroom by any means.

Not every mushroom tastes the same! Species differences, terroir and the diff between a functional saprobe on woodchips vs a facultative MR species in the woods. Mo bettah sugar from the trees = better taste, perhaps.

I dunno why, exactly, but the taste difference was marked.

By: Gerhard Koller (Gerhard)
2012-03-23 11:18:26 CDT (-0500)

you could send me some :=)
Usually morels all over the world taste similarly as does porcini and other common edibles like chantarelles.
BTW, you have heard that morels probably are poisonous and not that safe and harmless as believed? I do not know if it is true but there are certain investigations going and I know of people who react to eating them in a bad way.

this is certainly a Morchella and an edible mushroom…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-03-23 10:53:24 CDT (-0500)

whether it corresponds to a European species is another matter. Andreas’ lovely photo shows a yellowing morel; this one reddens.

I suspect that rufobrunnea does NOT occur in eastern NA, and besides, this is not a wood chip habitat.

As to morel flavors…I certainly have NO opinion on European morels, no matter what hab they pop up in. But the western ones here in CA have been taste-tested side by side, and the rufobrunnea is pretty much tasteless. Since you haven’t tried them yourself, Gerhard, how can you have an opinion about ours???

Agree with Gerhard
By: Andreas (AK_CCM)
2012-03-23 07:21:08 CDT (-0500)

…that this could be M. vulgaris sensu Boudier. Some years ago I made a pic comparism of a collected fruitbody and the specific plate of Bodier:


Here you could see a habitat photo:


I do not understand,
By: Gerhard Koller (Gerhard)
2012-03-23 06:58:14 CDT (-0500)

why everybody is bashing the morels found on woodchips beds. In Europe we have also one of its kind called M. vaporaria/hortensis and I actually like it and never had any digesting or other problems with it. The taste is equal with other Morchellas IMO. Verpa is the genus that is not that good.

Hi Debbie
By: Christine Braaten (wintersbefore)
2012-03-22 22:31:53 CDT (-0500)

These were under a stand of Eastern Red Cedars at the edge of my yard. No woodchips, just under these trees in soil, comming up through needle duff. They appeared last year as well at the beginning of April.

woods? or woodchips?
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-03-22 21:49:50 CDT (-0500)

and does rufobrunnea even occur in the SE?

if so, this does resemble it…but a morel is a morel is a…

except actually the rufobrunnea is not nearly as good as other, wilder forms: it’s the tasteless cultivar of the woodchip beds.

re: Damon
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2012-03-22 21:29:15 CDT (-0500)

as long as “calling it a yellow” doesn’t occur in the official big-bold-and-italicized page header; a battle already played out at great length in the annals of MO debatery.

the idea of grouping these for batch renaming at a later date is a good one. species lists would serve that purpose nicely, while also letting those fond of color-based nomenclature use their preferred terminology to their heart’s content. one for yellows, one for greys, one for blacks, that sort of thing.

Perhaps, once they’ve punished themselves to their satisfaction trying to designate strict color criteria for an inherenty color-intergrading group of fungi, they’ll just wait for proper NA epithets.

By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2012-03-22 21:21:06 CDT (-0500)

Last I knew there are now 19 genetic species of morels in North America, all of which are delicious fried in butter. The grays turn into yellows and from a macroscopically morphological viewpoint, we have maybe 6 or 7 “species” in Eastern North America.

whatever the name,
By: Martin Livezey (MLivezey)
2012-03-22 19:18:14 CDT (-0500)

this is a BEAUTY! Nice find wintersbefore!

yellow morel
By: David Rust (incredulis)
2012-03-22 16:28:23 CDT (-0500)

I’m no taxonomist, and we don’t get this species in the West, but Michael Kuo has run DNA extensively on North American morels and sort of lumps this gestalt into the yellow, esculenta group. His explanation here: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/morchella_yellow.html.

By: damon brunette (damonbrunette)
2012-03-22 16:00:30 CDT (-0500)

With Dave. Since we know it as esculenta, we can easily batch change the name to whatever it becomes if they are already grouped. I also agree with shroomy Dan on the same basis. If we call it a yellow, we can also later batch change it to whatever it’s supposed to be in the future.

We had a discussion on MO about this last year.
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2012-03-22 14:21:08 CDT (-0500)

As Gerhard says, assigning a species name to a North American “Yellow Morel” is a dubious proposal, as DNA data suggests there are several different macro-similar species, as well as several macro-different types with similar DNA signatures. Moreover, “esculenta” is a Euro name, so it may be non-applicable here in NA. But for the sake of having discussions about our different morels, there was a small consensus which favored “esculenta group” for the larger varieties with caps that have proportionately more pits.

I think that “vulagaris” is a name that has been used rarely, if at all, in relation to NA morel types.

Morchella “sp.” it is then… Thanks!
By: Christine Braaten (wintersbefore)
2012-03-22 12:22:18 CDT (-0500)
I do not want to disappoint you,
By: Gerhard Koller (Gerhard)
2012-03-22 12:19:44 CDT (-0500)

but this ain’t M. esculenta. I have no idea about the situation in America but I would call this M. vulgaris group. But it does not matter to apply names to Morchella species since no one actually knows anything. DNA proofs have shown that there are way too many names but which sample can be applied to which name well that’s a question ;)

Can I call this Morchella esculenta?
By: Christine Braaten (wintersbefore)
2012-03-22 12:16:30 CDT (-0500)

Most of the Morchella observations on here are left at “sp.”

Created: 2012-03-22 12:13:44 CDT (-0500)
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