Name: Morchella Dill. ex Pers.
Most Confident Observations:
Copyright © 2011 Jack Skrceny (Mushroom Jack)
Copyright © 2011 Hamilton
Copyright © 2011 Dan Molter (shroomydan)
Copyright © 2010 Irelis Cuba Pinto
Version: 32
Previous Version 

First person to use this name on MO: Alan Rockefeller
Editors: Jason Hollinger, Erlon Bailey, Johannes Harnisch, Joseph D. Cohen


Rank: Genus

Status: Accepted

Name: Morchella

ICN Identifier: missing

Index Fungorum search

MycoBank search

Author: Dill. ex Pers.

Citation: Neues Mag. Bot. 1: 116 (1794)

Deprecated Synonyms: Mitrophora Lév., Eromitra Lév., Morilla Quél.

Misspellings: Gray morel, Mochella, Morrell

Notes on Taxonomy: [Edit]

Type species: Morchella esculenta

Morchella rufobrunnea clade. (An early diverging basal lineage (M. sect. Rufobrunnea sensu Clowez 2012);
Morchella elata clade (black morels, M. sect. Distantes);
Morchella esculenta clade (yellow morels, M. sect. Morchella).

Index Fungorum record 3268
MycoBank #3268

Gibson, MORCHELLACEAE in the Pacific Northwest (2015);

Interactive Morel table (after Richard, et al.)

Michael Kuo, Damon R. Dewsbury, Kerry O’Donnell, M. Carol Carter, Stephen A. Rehner, John David Moore, Jean-Marc Moncalvo, Stephen A. Canfield, Steven L. Stephenson, Andrew Methven, and Thomas J. Volk, “Taxonomic revision of true morels (Morchella) in Canada and the United States”, Mycologia 2012 11-375; Preliminary version published online: April 11, 2012, doi:10.3852/11-375

Franck Richard, Jean-Michel Bellanger, Philippe Clowez, Karen Hansen, Kerry O’Donnell, Alexander Urban, Mathieu Sauve, Régis Courtecuisse, and Pierre-Arthur Moreau, “True morels (Morchella, Pezizales) of Europe and North America: evolutionary relationships inferred from multilocus data and a unified taxonomy”, Mycologia 2015; 107:359-382 doi:10.3852/14-166

Brief Description: [See More | Edit]

medium to large mushroom, on ground; cap has honeycombed system of ridges and pits, and is attached to stem at least 1/3 the height of the cap; hollow stem

Descriptions: [Create]


Add Comment
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2015-03-20 05:59:39 CDT (-0500)
why M. esculentoides and M. cryptica not yet deprecated
By: Joseph D. Cohen (Joe Cohen)
2015-03-20 05:47:43 CDT (-0500)

Simply because noone has felt like doing it.
And if you want to find out why noone has felt like doing it, you’d have to ask each person.

Richards et al. paper, 2014
By: Terri Clements/Donna Fulton (pinonbistro)
2015-03-01 14:16:06 CST (-0600)

Richard, Franck; Bellanger, Jean-Michel; Clowez, Philippe; Courtecuisse, Regis; Hansen, Karen; O’Donnell, Kerry; Sauve, Mathieu; Urban, Alexander; Moreau, Pierre-Arthur (30 December 2014). “True morels (Morchella, Pezizales) of Europe and North America: evolutionary relationships inferred from multilocus data and a unified taxonomy”. Mycologia (Preliminary version published online). doi:10.3852/14-166. PMID 25550303. 14-166.

I couldn’t get the doi link to work and have no access to Mycologia but according to Wikipedia: “In 2014, Richard et al. clarified the taxonomic status of this species, retaining the name Morchella ulmaria of Clowez (2012) over M. cryptica.” They also retained M. americana over M. esculentoides.

My question is why haven’t M. esculentoides and M. cryptica 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


free access to Kuo et al. 2012
By: BlueCanoe
2012-04-13 17:54:07 CDT (-0500)

It looks like the Mycological Society of America (publisher of the journal Mycologia) has made the new Kuo et al. paper on morel taxonomy freely available.

Taxonomic revision of true morels (Morchella) in Canada and the United States

back to fungi
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2012-04-13 15:19:20 CDT (-0500)

NOTE: this comment originally in response to a now-deleted comment of Dan Molter’s

I apologize if you took my contributions to last spring’s discussions to be a calculated misdirection of the debate to further some private, clandestine motives. Nothing could be further from the truth. I see now that the distinction you were/are attempting to make is between ‘valid’ and ‘best.’

So ´valid´ was not the battle you intended to fight, and yet you found yourself an unwitting combatant all the same. Unfair as it may have been, I think it dealt with an important component of the issue. Now let’s tackle ‘best:’

I agree that specificity is a good thing in describing organisms, especially organisms as complex and resistant to rigid categorization as fungi. I agree that Yellow morel could, under certain circumstances, be more helpful in describing/denoting a particular species than just Morchella sp. It would have to, right? It’s a noun with an adjective as opposed to a lone noun. The fundamental problem with singularly praising Yellow morel and similar names is the inherent risk of generating as much or more confusion than clarity. People in different places call different morels fruiting at different times of year under different conditions “Yellow.” All that this moniker denotes is what portion of the visible light spectrum is reflecting off of the fruiting body’s tissues given whichever one of the innumerable permutations of these variables exists at the time of observation. To me, that makes “Yellow” as a modifier to “morel” more of a risk than an aid, at least when applied outside those regions (if any exist) which demonstrate sufficiently low variability in color to warrant sorting things by that quality and that quality alone. To be clear, Yellow morel could be a perfectly suitable way to parse Morchella in, say, Ohio, or some part of Ohio, but if applied globally, that usefulness may not only break down, but serve to add knots to the bundle of yarn it endeavors to untie.

The latest literature hasn’t completely chucked color out the window when it comes to identification, nor has it been so naive as to rely exclusively on color to navigate our current (and almost certainly transitory) concept of NA Morchella species diversity. The latest publication seems to have sought to strike a balance in its simultaneous reliance on and caution regarding FB color. In these first few days of putting the Kuo et al. 2012 key and accompanying descriptions and photos to work, some of us have discovered that the single most inconsistent and subjective aspect of the document is its treatment of color. There are even discrepancies between written descriptions and the color photos they’re meant to correspond with. To me, this only adds motivation to keep Morchella color in the dog house and instead focus on those micro or macro characteristics that submit more readily and uniformly to our limited capacities of sensory perception.

If considering only these two options, Yellow morel vs. Morchella sp., the latter, though not terribly descriptive, is at least the safest of safe ground (assuming it actually applies to a morel). Fortunately, those aren’t the only two options. For most of the lifetime of this debate, we have been without species names for NA Morchella that we now have access to. The next chapter of this discussion can finally be applying the latest research on the genus in NA to what we, with our limited capacities of sensory perception, perceive out in the field.

By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2012-04-12 19:13:55 CDT (-0500)

> Your argument is bad and you should feel bad.

I don’t know, Danny’s not a bad guy, and I don’t think that he should feel bad.

I agree that Morchella esculenta clade isn’t a good name because we really don’t know how close those morels are to esculenta. If it was sequenced and came out close to the real esculenta that would be reasonable. But without that I would call most observations Morchella sp.

re: Summary
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2012-04-12 14:10:55 CDT (-0500)

NOTE: this comment originally in response to a now-deleted comment of Dan Molter’s

Your argument is bad and you should feel bad.

a PhD-calibre declaration if I’ve ever heard one.

Your suggestion that we use only the genus name reeks of a slavish devotion to a taxonomic rule at the expense of hindering communication. It’s short-sighted.

My suggestion — and yes, it is a suggestion — is in an effort to adhere to the very principes which MO itself adheres to by utilizing binomial nomenclature. By your reasoning, that makes me, Mushroom Observer and its creators/developers and really taxonomy at large all “slaves,” though I expect that those you’ve indicted find “members” and “contributors” to be more acurate descriptors. It would be redundant (like most of our exchanges) to reiterate my support for contemporary taxonomy. That argument already exists here:

…an argument which, at the time, you seemed to take much less issue with. To be specific, you found it neither short-sighted nor sophomoric.

You lack both expertise and authority, yet you take on the role of self-assured nomenclature police, out to save mushroomobserver from a non-conventional name. You are so sure that you’re right, and those who disagree must be stupid or crazy. That is sophomoric.

You contradict yourself, Herr Philosoph. The word was ‘suggestion,’ remember? Browse my unadulterated comment history if you need a refresher. The barking of orders, circuitous logic and routine patronization of others has come from one Mid-Western corner of the room from the beginning, teeming with anger management issues and a palpable double-standard of mutual respect in written discourse.

We don’t have to look far to see examples of your abrasive and insulting prose.

The Dan Molter, on the other hand, had his reprehensible conduct soaked, squeegeed and waxed to shiny, unincriminating perfection. Thankfuly, there’s pastebin:

I’m not much interested in debating you further, primarily because you ignored my arguments from last spring, choosing instead to trot out a strawman “Yellow is not a valid genus”. My argument was never about yellow being a genus. In fact I clearly noted that in English the general term comes second and the specific term comes first, hence the genus of “Yellow Morel” is morel, not yellow. Also note that I never claimed that all yellow morels must be yellow; in fact I demonstrated that yellow morels start out gray. The name “Yellow morel” denotes a taxon in the same way that Polyporus badius denotes a taxon. Color terms that appear in taxa names, either Latin or English, are only loosely descriptive – they do not indicate a necessary condition for membership in the taxon. Though taxa names can be meaningful, their primary function is to rigidly designate the taxon.

I’m not either, Danny, honestly. It’s like arguing with a drill sergeant on Datura. I’d restate my case, but I don’t think it would do any good. God knows, it hasn’t yet.

If you would like to engage me further Danny, then I require that you refrain from insulting me, and I require that you not employ logical fallacies such as the strawman argument. You might also someday consider employing the principle of charity.

I wouldn’t like to engage you further, Danny. The site and it’s developers would like for me not to engage you further. Your blood pressure and general peace of mind would like for me to not engage you further. You may not know it, but every one of these comments ends with a proverbial burrying of my half of the hatchet. Alas, you seem hell bent on unearthing it and hacking away about once a month.

As for the name Morchella esculenta clade, I do not think this is a good name. We do not have evidence that all yellow morels are part of a monophyletic group. What we now consider to be yelow morels might well turn out to be paraphyletic or polyphyletic. Secondly I have not seen concrete evidence that the genealogical nexus around Morchella is organized in clades. Some groups of organism resist phylogenetic classification due to a history of reticulate evolution. Cladistics is but one school of taxomonic thought, and as I explained in another morel thread, the very concept of clade is not without its problems. If it does turn out that all the yellow morels line up in a nice clade, then I’m not sure the best name for that clade would be Morchella esculenta clade; it might be given a different name.

Finally, the name Morchella esculenta clade has not been validly published, so it is no more ‘valid’ than yellow morel; it just sounds more scientificy

Good luck at school.

New Morchella names
By: BlueCanoe
2012-04-11 21:15:17 CDT (-0500)

This is timely. Kuo et. al’s new paper on morel taxonomy just went online today:

Taxonomic revision of true morels (Morchella) in Canada and the United States

Michael Kuo, Damon R. Dewsbury, Kerry O’Donnell, M. Carol Carter, Stephen A. Rehner, John David Moore, Jean-Marc Moncalvo, Stephen A. Canfield, Steven L. Stephenson, Andrew Methven, and Thomas J. Volk

Mycologia 2012 11-375; Preliminary version published online: April 11, 2012, doi:10.3852/11-375 (subscription required for full text)

off topic self-promotion: $0
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2012-04-11 12:39:35 CDT (-0500)

practically zero contribution to the matter at hand: $0

mudslinging sans supporting arguments: $0

admitting that your comment trail required administrative laundering lest a prospective PhD program discover your true character:


edit: The Dan Molter’s slippery comment trail slithers out the way it came in… again! at least my replies are here.

By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2012-04-10 15:27:25 CDT (-0500)

the crew of former opponents to the idea of using common English in Latin names is truly abandoning ship. does no one else see the slippery slope that this presents? if Black morel and Yellow morel are kosher (never mind the amount of hair splitting it may take to settle on genus Blonde vs. genus Yellow) , so is Honey mushroom and Jelly fungus and any number of other shorthand naming conventions, no matter how arbitrary, no matter how regionally variable.

If I had to pick one, I’d keep the incorrect European names over color names, but this is the lesser of two evils when a markedly better alternative already exists, one I’ve suggested from the beginning that no one has yet undertaken: species lists. keep the big bold italicized language sacred, reserved for where the observation actually falls in the grand and admittedly dysfunctional design of modern taxonomy, and allow secondary sorting methods to take place in parallel. i can’t think of a more win-win scenario. binomial nomenclature is uncorrupted with pedestrian language, fungi resistant to taxonomic ordering are arranged and sorted by a second, more colloquial/improvisational system. neither interferes with or threatens the integrity of the other.

edit: Nathan, I didn’t see your comment until mine was posted. i wholeheartedly agree. this taps directly into a PT story proposed ages ago for some kind of support for common names. the morel issue is most certainly case in point, as is that of polypores, boletes, agarics, entomopathogens, “gasteromycetes” and any other group whose macromorphology doesn’t necessarily correspond with its phylogeny.

What to do about morels?
By: Nathan Wilson (nathan)
2012-04-10 15:16:35 CDT (-0500)

Michael Kuo has a good discussion of the current state of Morchella research in North America:

Personally I think being able to differentiate between “Black morels” and “Yellow morels” etc. is useful and improves our data even if we can’t accurately assign a more specific scientific name than just Morchella. This is a great use case for a new system I’m actively working on. My current thinking is that we add support for a new class of names that are defined based not on a concept of a “species”, but rather explicitly on the basis of macroscopically observable features. These names would be made visually distinct by being in what’s known to programmers as CamelCase. In this case we would define BlackMorel and YellowMorel. However, I’d like to get opinions from other users about whether you would find this useful. There is a preliminary publication on this topic at:

and I hope to be talking about it at the MSA meeting in July 2012 at Yale and any other mushroom events I attend in the near future.

By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2012-04-10 15:08:32 CDT (-0500)

Yes we know that M. esculenta, M. elata, etc. are European names, But until we have new name (which will be later this year) I would rather call them as we have been.
Or call them “Yellow Morel”, Black Morel, etc.

By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2012-04-10 14:59:53 CDT (-0500)

North America receives its bounty of new Morchella names, I suggest restricting any and every taxonomically dubious ob. to genus, then assigning new names as they come. for those who are antsy to categorize by color in advance of those names, there are species lists. the fact of the matter is that there are no M. esculenta, M. elata, M. conica, etc. in NA. naming at MO should reflect that fact, not act in defiance of it.

Number of users interested in this name: 1