There are several names morel mushrooms are known by such as: dry land fish, johnny jump ups, and many more. The morel is found in wooded areas in the eastern United States around tulip poplar trees, white ash,white pine, elm, sycamore, and apple trees. After a good spring rain when temperatures range in the mid 60s to 70s, and the sun pops out...the morels
" POP UP"!
Morels can be difficult to see due to the camouflaging affect with the winters leaf coverage on the forest floor yet they do have very distinctive features. Seasoned eagle eyed morel hunters seem to have an astute radar for locating the hard to see rascals. It takes a dedicated hunter to find these tasty delights.
Like all mushroom hunting and eating you must be very careful because there are impostures that can be deadly. The morel, while unlike most mushrooms, even with its distinctive characteristics you still must use caution because there are "fake morels".
All true morels must have hollow stems from the bottom to top of the inside of the mushroom. When you slice a morel in half it should be hollow just like the picture.
The fake morels have lumpy almost brain like shapes which is not typical of a morel. They also do not have a hollow stem, they have a cottony fibrous stem. If you look at the stem of the fake morel you can see it has almost a white pithy inside which is a big indicator that you have a fake morel and can be very dangerous if eaten.
Your state parks welcome you to visit and try to find a morel mushroom in the wild. Observation is welcomed, but please remember that what is on the park...stays on the park. We want our guests to have a positive experience learning more about the natural wonders that fill our parks, so look but do not touch! Happy hunting!
Written by: Kathy Myers