How to Identify Morel Mushrooms

By eHow Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor

Morel mushrooms are a spring pleasure if you live close to woodlands. Morel hunters watch for the first indications of morel season, keep careful records of their finds and guard their secrets. Morels are not cultivated domestically, and they do not appear year after year in the same location, factors that probably contribute to their mystique. However, morels are one of the easiest edible wild mushrooms to identify.

Look at the shape of the mushroom's cap. The morel cap looks like a sponge, with irregular pits and ridges all over it. The cap is usually tall and conical and much larger than the stem on the common morel. Other morel varieties have a smaller cap on a long stem.

Evaluate the mushroom's color. Morels are variably colored due to the pitted and ridged surface of the cap. Their general color may be grayish or yellowish brown. The black morel variety has a darker gray cap.

Look at the stalk of your specimen. The morel stalk is light in color, sometimes has a granular texture and is often wider toward the base.

Slice the mushroom in half. Morels are hollow in both the cap and the stem.

Consider the time of year. Morels come up in spring, generally in the range of April to June, appearing earlier in the season the further south you go in the United States.