The Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr reached a major milestone that we almost missed: the 150,000th photo was added to the group by Christine aka LadyDragonflyCC!! The 100,000th photo was added 2 years ago. At that time there were about 2400 people in our group which has now grown to almost 3200 people. The group was started way back in August of 2005 and you can go back to the beginning right here.
When in doubt, throw it out!
~The Mushroom Hunter’s Mantra
The “False Morel” has several species which carry scientific names such as Gyromitra esculenta, Verpa, Hellvella, and Disciotis. The Verpa and gyromitrin species are the most often mis-identified variety. The gyroomitrin is oten referred to as the “red mushroom”, the “beefsteak mushroom” or the “lorchel”. There are several true species of the false morel, and while some will say they can prepare and eat the false morel with no problem, others have a drastically opposite reaction to them. Hence, The Great Morel suggests that you do not attempt to digest this particular mushroom.
Research shows this species of the morel family is said to contain a toxic chemical called Gyromitrin, a toxic and possible carcinogenic chemical.
…The texture or makeup of the cap or head can typically have brain-like features, with folds in the caps, which some might describe as wrinkles, and are often brittle to the touch. The color will appear reddish or a brownish red, and will darken to almost a blackish red as the false morel ages. You can see some of this darkening beginning to take place on the image below. Sizes can vary from 2 inches to 10 inches.
One of the easiest ways of determining the false morel is by slicing it long ways. See the image below of a crosscut sectioning and note the meaty texture of the stem. False morels are not hollow, which is the most definite tip that you have stumbled up one of these ugly bad boys. The false morel shown in this image is also quite heavy as it is almost solid in the stem and meaty, and often referred to as “cottony”. Some expert mycologists go into greater detail in defining the relationship of the cap and the stem.
“We are seeing the unusual becoming the norm.”
~Nate Fuller, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
Michigan’s strange “Summer Spring” has seen magnolias, cherries, trillium, daffodils and all manner of plants blooming more or less at once under the pressure cooker of a week of 70 and 80 degree days. For some reason the news that morel mushrooms are being found already in Southwest Michigan has been the most shocking to me of all the action of so far. Hunters from further north in Manistee & Traverse City reported finding tiny ones as well at morels.com.
You can usually set your clock to morels in late April to early May, but it appears we have to revise our The general wisdom appears to be that although it is very early and pretty dry out there, forecast rain over the next few days could bring these delicious woodland treasures out.
Much more Michigan morel info on Michigan in Pictures.
Morels are starting to show up in the woods … and if it would rain, we’d be seeing more!
Like everything else, the morels are way early in 2010. No word yet on whether it will impact the 51st Annual Mesick Mushroom Festival (May 7-9) or the 50th Annual National Morel Mushroom Festival in Boyne City (May 13-16). Check their sites for info and updates (including a listen to the Mushroomers Waltz written and performed by Robin Lee Berry on the Boyne City site!).
Erich says that morels are his favorite part of spring and writes:
I recently spent a long weekend up in northern Michigan looking for the elusive Morel mushroom, guided by some friends. Maeby tagged along too, as you can see.
Turns out spotting the black Morels was much more difficult than I remembered, like a Where’s Waldo hunt that spans many square miles. Still, we found enough to be happy, and I enjoyed the trip up north immensely.
Check it out larger in his Up North slideshow.
If you’re looking for tons of morel fun and are near enough to Boyne City, check out the National Morel Mushroom Festival today & tomorrow or enjoy it through this Absolute Michigan report from the 2009 Morel Fest!
Peter says that he found this delicious pair black morels in Delta County in the UP last May.
Over on Absolute Michigan we have a nice feature on morel hunting in Michigan that offers some tips for tracking down these elusive and tasty mushrooms.
Our best advice for how to find morels is to attend one of Michigan’s morel celebrations. The 50th annual Mesick Mushroom Festival happens this weekend (May 8-10, 2009) and the Boyne City National Morel Mushroom Festival takes place May 14-17, 2009.
For more photos, check out the Michigan Morel slideshow on Flickr.
Chad writes that he found these beautiful morels while hiking with his wife. He has more morel photos, but somehow neglected to mention WHERE he found them … here’s hoping you find some tasty things to do when out and about in Michigan this weekend!
This photo was provided by the Boyne City Morel Mushroom Festival. You can get a ton more information about the National Mushroom Festival and Michigan morel mushrooms today on Absolute Michigan.