When searching for Morels in Missouri, look for specific clues

by Mar 26, 2019Farm News

MISSOURI — Morel mushrooms are a highly sought after native species of mushroom in Missouri.

They are known for their taste and can be cooked multiple ways once harvested.

However, finding them can prove to be a challenge if you do not know where to look or what to look for.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), there are three species of edible Morels in Missouri: the Yellow or Common Morel, Black Morel and Half-Tree Morel.


Each species has a distinct color or cap shape, making it easier to find a specific type.

The Yellow Morel is colored yellow, yellow-gray or yellow-brown and has a honeycombed-shaped cap. The Black Morel is similar in shape, but has a black to brownish-black color on its cap, while the Half-tree Morel has a cap is a smaller honeycomb with brownish-black ridges and brownish-yellow pits.

The edges of the Half-tree cap are also detached from the white stalk.

All three species share a few characteristics including that all three are hollow, including through the stalk, they grow for a short time during Spring and they all prefer a similar habitat.

When hunting for Morels, the MDC suggests searching in moist woodlands and river bottoms.

These mushrooms are also found around Ash, Apple and dying Elm Trees.

While hunting for Morels can be an highly enjoyable activity, hunters should be aware that there are similar species which can be lethal.

According to the MDC, there are two species of False Morels native to Missouri: Big Red Morels and Gabled False Morel.

Both of these species are extremely poisonous to humans, but there are some distinct differences that will help hunters tell the difference.

The first difference is the mushroom cap. Unlike true Morels, False Morels have an irregular and sometimes brain-shaped cap.

A second difference is that False Morels grow during Spring, Summer and Fall.

For more information about Morel mushrooms, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website.