Friday, May 3, 2002
Thick-Stalked False Morel
When and where found: In the Conant Land during the vernal pool walk on April 21st. It has a season from late April to late May.
Distinguishing characteristics: This is the Shar-Pei of the mushroom world. It is a stocky mushroom with a height to width ratio of around 2:1. The cap is heavily folded but the color is more like a Golden Retriever than a Shar-Pei. Cap is brittle and white on the underside. Stalk is almost white, with multiple channels, and is wider than it is tall. Can be visually distinguished from the Snowbank False Morel (Gyromitra gigas) only by microscopic examination of the spores.
Habitat: In mixed woods, or hardwood forests, or on the ground. It is well-disguised in the dead leaves. Its look-alike, the Snowbank False Morel, is found west of the Rockies.
Edibility: Do not eat these. They are not morels. They are very closely related to the Conifer False Morel (G. esculenta) which can be deadly despite the fact that its species name is 'esculenta' or edible. (How did that happen?) Apparently most of the toxins can be destroyed by repeated boiling and rinsing.
True morel: The true morel is in the genus Morchella and is a very desirable edible mushroom. This is the season for them but I have yet to find any in the wild.
People are loath to tell
Where the true morel is found
Unless at Bread and Circus
For $200 per pound.
Truly, the nice jar of dried morels sitting on the cheese counter at Bread and Circus has a price tag of $229 per pound.
Reference: National Audubon Society, Field Guide to Mushrooms.
Submissions for the Biodiversity Corner are encouraged from everyone. The organism doesn't have to be unusual. The only requirements are that it exists in the wild and was seen in Carlisle. There is a lot to be seen and found now that 'Ma Nature's lyrical with her yearly miracle.' Send a note to Kay Fairweather at 392 School Street, Carlisle, MA 01741 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito