Observation 44367: Morchella Dill. ex Pers.

When: 2010-04-16

Collection location: Junction City, Trinity Co., California, USA [Click for map]

Who: RW Rockwell (Fungal Cowboy)

No specimen available

All found under re-sprouting madrones in burn areas. Light covering of Douglas fir or pine needles, from killed pines, cover the soil in these locations. Moss may or may not be present on ground.


A common location for morels here – at the base of burned madrones that are re-sprouting from the base of the trunk.
A larger morel specimen from the base of the re-sprouting madrone in the background.
Note the color variations in specimens found in the same vicinity – from tans, to reddish brown to blackish brown. Some seems to be age related, but some not.
A young, but darker pair of specimens.
The largest specimen I’ve found this Spring. Note the Collembola (springtails) on the tip. They seem to feed on morels and other fungi, as do small black ants here.
“Yes, I’m sure it’s a morel!” I’ve finally trained my dog to locate morels. Oh happy day! These were directly downhill of a large, burned madrone that also had several morels growing at the base of the trunk.
A nose for morels! Yes, she can now find morels by smell that I pass over. Amazing.
An evening’s collection for the table.

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Thanks, folks…
By: RW Rockwell (Fungal Cowboy)
2010-04-17 20:02:06 EDT (-0400)

She is a one in a million dog. Was very lucky to find her.

No snow on the ground where these emerge. In fact, another 500 feet
higher in elevation is still too cool and wet, chilled by winds coming
off of snow about another 500-1000 feet above that. That should help
narrow it down for you! ;-)

By: BakerSt10
2010-04-17 15:36:06 EDT (-0400)

Nice pictures & real nice dog.

Any snow on the ground…
By: poxon (bpoxon)
2010-04-17 11:33:09 EDT (-0400)

where you’re finding these?

great action shots of your morel hunting dog!
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-04-17 10:28:04 EDT (-0400)

She’s one in a million…

Thanks, CC.
By: RW Rockwell (Fungal Cowboy)
2010-04-17 02:25:56 EDT (-0400)

She’s a heeler/border collie cross. Extremely smart. In fact, I had a bumper sticker made with her photo that reads: “My border collie is smarter than your honor student!” I’m sure that’s annoyed some uppity parent, heh heh. She’s so eager to please that she’s interested in finding anything that I am. I’ve taken her to find the freshly shed antlers of blacktail deer as well (which coincides with morel season) and she’s quite good at that. She knows the term “deer” and to her the antlers are known as “deer bones.” To help her relate to finding morels, she knows them as “tree food.” This is her term for any fruit or vegetable that is edible.

You’re exactly right about the high variability in color, as well as general cap shape. Not at all a dependable characteristic for ID. Will be interested to read discussion of spore analysis between this species and known ones.

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2010-04-17 01:47:31 EDT (-0400)

Very good info and photos. I agree that these are likely the same species as the ones down near Santa Cruz growing with Arbutus menziesii… Whatever species that is.
And yeah, the colour is not quite brown, not black, grey, red, nor blonde. Too variable.

Nice dog. Is she a blue heeler or AU shepherd? Or a cross? My roomate has a heeler/pit mix that I have tried to take mushroom hunting, but every time I call her over to look at a mushroom, she skulks away. Then if I bring the mushroom to her to check out, she turns her head away with this pained expression on her face, haha. She totally loves walking on the mushrooms while I am trying to photograph them, though.

So good work and lucky you for getting your dog to get it on the mushroom action.

Created: 2010-04-17 00:55:16 EDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2011-04-28 11:23:18 EDT (-0400)
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