Morchella esculenta

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Morchella esculenta

3 May 2010 East Sussex. Photograph copyright Leif Goodwin

Common Name

Common Morel

Cap

Brain like, with a honeycomb of angular pits and ridges, hollow, yellow brown, darker with age, to about 10 cm across

Stem

Often irregular and furrowed lengthwise, surface granular, whitish to cream, hollow

Flesh

White, firm

Smell

Indistinct

Taste

Indistinct

Season

Spring

Distribution

Rare

Habitat

In woods, scrub and gardens, favouring chalk soil

Microscopic Features

Spores ellipsoidal, smooth (18-23) x (11-14) µm2

Edibility

Poisonous when raw, edible and excellent when cooked. Take care not to confuse with the False Morel, Gyromitra esculenta.

Notes

Although one of the most prized edible fungi, this species is mildly poisonous when raw. A notorious case of morel poisoning occured in 1991 at a luxury hotel in Vancouver. The event was in part a retirement dinner for the chief of police, and included numerous health department officials. Chefs prepared a pasta salad which included pieces of raw morel. Out of 483 guests, 77 experienced some symptoms, which included vomiting, nausea and rashes. Some authorities recognise several closely related species.

Additional Photographs

Morchella esculenta

25 April 2009 East Sussex. Photograph copyright Leif Goodwin

Morchella esculenta

3 May 2010 East Sussex. Photograph copyright Leif Goodwin

Morchella esculenta

May 2000 Hampshire. Photograph copyright Leif Goodwin