When: 2008-05-25

Collection location: Idaho, USA [Click for map]

Who: Johannes Harnisch (Johann Harnisch)

Specimen available

Are morels mycorhizal or saprophytic? I can’t seemtofind any thing that says thy are mycorhizal. are these photos of M.esculenta or M.elata.

[admin – Sat Aug 14 02:01:22 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ‘Idaho USA’ to ‘Idaho, USA’


Copyright © 2009 Johannes Harnisch
Are these Morchella esculenta?
are morchella species (morels) mycorhizal? or saprophytic?
Copyright © 2009 Johannes Harnisch
Are these Morchella esculenta?
are morchella species (morels) mycorhizal? or saprophytic?

Proposed Names

76% (2)
Recognized by sight
Used references
32% (3)
Recognized by sight

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Add Comment
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2009-03-03 19:49:50 PST (-0800)

I have wondered if maybe even wood chip morels are the result of a mycorhizal fungus. My idea goes like this. A tree which hosts the morchella fungus is harvested, and the mycellium surrounding the roots gets chopped up along with the wood chips. Being then in a near death state, the fungus devotes all its energy to reproducing, which results in wood chip morels. Just an idea.

Here in the eastern US we get a yellow/white morel which is similar to the esculenta type, but smaller and with fewer pits. They are often called deliciosa. Arora reports a deliciosa type from western areas, and I suspect the Mountain Blond may be this type, or something close to it. The one pictured here is what I would call an esculenta type.

Morchellla esculenta
By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2009-03-03 15:01:45 PST (-0800)

Fits macroscopically. But the Michael Kuo reports that there may be more than one macroscopically identical M. esculenta. Tom Volk and students have verified that morels are at times mycorrihzal with elm and apple.

By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2009-03-03 13:18:24 PST (-0800)

My advice is to have a look at Michael Kuo’s pages on morels:

This reminds of what he is calling “the western blond”.
I can almost tell for sure that it’s neither esculenta, nor elata. They were described from Europe a long time ago, and no type specimen are saved. No one really knows what the names actually represented. Probably more than one species each.

date correction?
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-03-03 08:21:07 PST (-0800)

the jury is still out on your question. obviously wood-chip morels are saprobes/wood-chip rotters; morels associated with dying elms could well be MR, and it seems like they might also be MR with some of our western trees, since they pop up under trees that have been stressed but not killed by fire. Saprobes, sclerotia, MR, it looks like they have lots of way to make their livings. Volk called them facultatively mycorrhizal. Check out Tom Volk Fungi for more info.