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I am the man when it comes to edible mushrooms and plants!

Late Winter and Spring Edible Mushrooms

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wiChicken Of The Woods (Sulfur-Shelf), Laetiporus Genus

Yellow-Pored  White-Pored  Orange-Pored  Conifer-Chicken



pheasantbackPheasant Back (Dryad’s Saddle)Polyporus squamosus

resinous-polyporeResinous PolyporeIschnoderma resinosum



micacapsInky Caps, Coprinus micaceus






 Pleurotus ostreatus





Pleurotus citrinopileatus

deerDeer or Fawn Mushrooms, Pluteus cervinus



Velvet Foot, Flammulina velutipes



Tree Ear/ Jelly Ear



Scarlet Cup



Brown Cup



Tan Cup





Devil’s Urn




False Morels

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Verpas: (in northern Michigan, some call them “caps”)

Verpa is a genus of ascomycete fungi related to the morels. Resembling the latter genus, they are called false or early morels. There are five species in the widespread genus.

Verpa comes from the Latin for erection or little rod.

Analysis of the ribosomal DNA of many of the Pezizales showed the genus Verpa to be closely related to the genus Morchella, and also Disciotis. Thus the three genera are now included in the family Morchellaceae.

Verpa Species:

  • Verpa bohemica – early or false, morel.
Edible if prepared properly. Found in North America, in early spring, April–May in damp places, under poplar.
  • Verpa conica – bell or conic morel.
Edible if properly prepared. Found in North America, in orchards, in eastern Canada.
  • Verpa digitaliformis
  • Verpa krombholzii
  • Verpa speciosa
Verpa bohemica  
Verpa conica


Gyromitras: (some call these “beefsteaks” and “reds”)

List of Gyromitra species:
  • Gyromitra ambigua
  • Gyromitra brunnea
  • Gyromitra bubakii
  • Gyromitra californica
  • Gyromitra caroliniana (North America)
  • Gyromitra esculenta – False morel
  • Gyromitra fastigiata
  • Gyromitra gigas – Snow morel
    • Gyromitra korfii – Possibly a synonym of G. gigas
    • Gyromitra montana – North American Snow morel, possibly a synonym of G. gigas
  • Gyromitra infula – Elfin saddle
  • Gyromitra leucoxantha
  • Gyromitra perlata

Gyromitra is a genus of ascomycete mushrooms found in the northern hemisphere. The genus contains about 18 species.

Analysis of the ribosomal DNA of many of the Pezizales showed the genus Gyromitra to be most closely related to the genus Discina, and also Pseudorhizina, Hydnotrya, and only distantly related to Helvella. Thus the four genera are now included in the family Discinaceae.

Gyromitra comes from gyro meaning convoluted and mitra meaning turban.


Some types of Gyromitra are highly poisonous when raw due to the presence of gyromitrin, although some species are edible when cooked and Gyromitra are sought after in Scandinavian countries. Widespread hemolysis has been reported from ingestion which can result in renal failure. Methemoglobinemia has also been seen, although it is typically responsive to treatment with methylene blue. Seizures can also develop via inhibition of the neurotransmitter GABA.

Further trawling through Wikipedia has revealed that, although potentially fatal if eaten raw, Gyromitra esculenta is a popular delicacy; in Scandinavia, not France as I had originally proclaimed. But they must be prepared carefully to reduce their toxicity and, even then, food safety experts seem divided over whether they are actually safe to eat.

Gyromitra caroliniana
Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra brunnea
Gyromitra gigas or montana


Gyromitra infula
Gyromitra Postage Stamps:


Helvella is a genus of ascomycete fungus of the family Helvellaceae. The mushrooms, commonly known as elfin saddles, are identified by their irregularly shaped caps, fluted stems, and fuzzy undersurfaces. They are found in North America and in Europe. Well known species include the whitish H. crispa and the grey H. lacunosa. They have been reported to cause gastrointestinal symptoms when eaten raw.

The generic name was originally a type of Italian herb but became associated with morels.


Species in Helvella have fruiting bodies (technically ascocarps) that grow above the ground, and usually have stems. The cup-like fruiting body (the apothecium) can assume a variety of forms: it may be shaped like an ear (auriculate), or a saddle; it may be convex or irregularly lobed and bent. The spore-bearing surface, the hymenium, can be smooth, wavy or wrinkled and can range in color from white to black or various shades of gray or brown. Similarly, the outer surface of the fruiting bodies can be smooth, ribbed, or have minute hairlike projections (villi). The stem is cylindrical and tapering or grooved and ribbed. The flesh is usually between 1–2 mm thick.

Two Most Common Species:

Helvella lacunosa



Helvella crispa

Helvella Species:

As of February 2016, Index Fungorum accepts 105 species of Helvella

  • Helvella acetabulum
  • Helvella adhaerens
  • Helvella aestivalis
  • Helvella affinis
  • Helvella agaricoides
  • Helvella albella
  • Helvella albipes
  • Helvella arcto-alpina
  • Helvella astieri
  • Helvella aterrima
  • Helvella atra
  • Helvella beatonii
  • Helvella branzeziana
  • Helvella brevis
  • Helvella brevissima
  • Helvella bulbosa
  • Helvella capucinoides
  • Helvella chinensis
  • Helvella cinerella
  • Helvella compressa
  • Helvella confusa
  • Helvella connivens
  • Helvella constricta
  • Helvella corbierei
  • Helvella corium
  • Helvella costifera
  • Helvella crassitunicata
  • Helvella crispa
  • Helvella cupuliformis
  • Helvella dissingi
  • Helvella dovrensis
  • Helvella dryophila
  • Helvella dura
  • Helvella elastica
  • Helvella engleriana
  • Helvella ephippioides
  • Helvella ephippium
  • Helvella faulknerae
  • Helvella favrei
  • Helvella fibrosa
  • Helvella flavida
  • Helvella foetida
  • Helvella fuegiana
  • Helvella fusca
  • Helvella galeriformis
  • Helvella glutinosa
  • Helvella griseoalba
  • Helvella hegani
  • Helvella helvellula
  • Helvella hyperborea
  • Helvella javanica
  • Helvella jiaohensis
  • Helvella jilinensis
  • Helvella jimsarica
  • Helvella juniperi
  • Helvella lactea
  • Helvella lacunosa
  • Helvella latispora
  • Helvella leucomelaena
  • Helvella leucopus
  • Helvella macropus
  • Helvella maculata
  • Helvella maroccana
  • Helvella menzeliana
  • Helvella mesatlantica
  • Helvella minor
  • Helvella monachella
  • Helvella oblongispora
  • Helvella pallidula
  • Helvella papuensis
  • Helvella paraphysitorquata
  • Helvella pedunculata
  • Helvella pezizoides
  • Helvella philonotis
  • Helvella phlebophora
  • Helvella pileata
  • Helvella platycephala
  • Helvella platypodia
  • Helvella pocillum
  • Helvella pulchra
  • Helvella quadrisulca
  • Helvella queletiana
  • Helvella queletii
  • Helvella rivularis
  • Helvella robusta
  • Helvella rossica
  • Helvella schaefferi
  • Helvella scrobiculata
  • Helvella semiobruta
  • Helvella sinensis
  • Helvella solida
  • Helvella solitaria
  • Helvella subfusispora
  • Helvella subglabra
  • Helvella taiyuanensis
  • Helvella terrestris
  • Helvella ulvinenii
  • Helvella umbraculiformis
  • Helvella underwoodii
  • Helvella unicolor
  • Helvella vacini
  • Helvella verruculosa
  • Helvella vespertina
  • Helvella xinjiangensis
  • Helvella zhongtiaoensis
 Helvella Postage Stamps:

Stink Horns that look like Morels:

Morchella capitata

Morchella capitata is a later synonym of Morchella exuberans. Originally identified as phylogenetic species Mel-9, it was described as new to science in 2012 by Kuo and colleagues. In 2014 however, Richard and colleagues clarified the taxonomic status of this species, retaining the name Morchella exuberans of Clowez (2012) over M. capitata.

It is a cosmopolitan, post-fire fungus in the Morchellaceae family, shown to occur in at least three continents, and is one of four species of fire-adapted morels in western North America (the others being M. eximia, M. sextelata, and M. tomentosa). It has also been found in Turkey, Sweden, China and Cyprus, but remains unclear whether dispersal between these distant locations occurred naturally or through accidental introduction by humans.

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Morchella ulmaria

Morchella ulmaria is a species of fungus in the family Morchellaceae. It was described as new to science in 2012 by Philippe Clowez. Later in the same year, Michael Kuo and colleagues described Morchella cryptica, which is a junior synonym of M. ulmaria. The species occurs in the forests of Midwestern North America, often associated with white ash (Fraxinus americana), the American tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) or species of maple or elm. It is closely related to M. castanea and 2 unnamed species from Asia.

The range of M. ulmaria overlaps with M. americana, which cannot be reliably distinguished from M. cryptica without DNA sampling.

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Morchella virginiana

Morchella virginiana is a species of fungus in the Morchellaceae family native to North America. Described as new to science in 2012, it occurs in southeastern hardwood forests. It has been collected from North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and Virginia, often near the American tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera).

In 2014, Richard et al. clarified the taxonomic status of this species, retaining the name Morchella sceptriformis of Clowez (2012) over M. virginiana.

Similar Species:

Morchella diminutiva

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Morchella frustrata (Western Blond Morel)

Morchella frustrata is a later synonym of Morchella tridentina, a species originally described by Giacomo Bresadola from north Italy in 1898. It is a species of fungus in the family Morchellaceae referred to as the mountain blond or western blond morel in North America, but commonly found throughout the Mediterranean basin. It has conical, grey to buff fruit bodies that grow up to 20 cm (7.9 in) tall and 5 cm (2.0 in) wide. Recent molecular and morphological studies have also shown Morchella frustrata to be conspecific to M. quercus-ilicis, M. elatoides, M. elatoides var. elegans and M. conica var. pseudoeximia. So far, this cosmopolitan species is known from California and Oregon in North America, from Argentina and Chile in South America, from Spain, France, Cyprus, Italy and Turkey in Europe, and has also been reported from Israel and India.

Morchella frustrata was described as new to science in a 2012 publication by Michael Kuo and colleagues. The report resulted from the Morel Data Collection Project, which aimed to clarify aspects of the biology, taxonomy and distribution of North American Morchella, and described 14 new morel species. The type locality was in Placer County, California.  The morel was previously referred to as phylogenetic species (i.e., defined by DNA sequence rather than morphological characteristics) Mel-2 in a study the year before, and informally as the “mountain blond morel”. Despite its light color, M. frustrata belongs to the Elata clade along with other black morels, including M. tomentosa and M. angusticeps. The specific epithet frustrata refers to the “frustrating combination of black and yellow morel features that characterize the species.”

In two subsequent studies, however, Richard and colleagues (2014) and Loizides and colleagues (2015) used DNA analysis to determine that this species is identical to morels collected in southern Europe, matching the original description of Morchella tridentina by Bresadola. This name therefore takes precedence over M. frustrata.

The fruit bodies are often rufescent and 9–20 cm (3.5–7.9 in) high. The conical cap is 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4 in) high and 2.5–4 cm (1.0–1.6 in) wide at the widest point. The cap surface features pits and ridges, which are formed from the intersection of 16–22 primary vertical ridges and few shorter, secondary vertical ridges, with frequent, sunken, horizontal ridges. The cap is attached to the stipe with a distinct sinus about 2–4 mm deep and 2–4 mm wide. The smooth, splitting ridges remain persistently pale throughout the maturity process, easily distinguishing this species from other species in section Elata, or black morels, which have ridges that typically darken with age. Pits are usually elongated vertically. They are smooth, dull grayish to pale yellowish or nearly whitish when young, later becoming pale tan to pale pinkish tan. The stipe is 2–6 cm (0.8–2.4 in) high by 1–4 cm (0.4–1.6 in) wide and is more or less equal in width throughout its length or sometimes thicker at the base. Its whitish surface is smooth or finely mealy with whitish granules. The flesh is whitish and measures 1–2 mm thick in the hollow cap. The sterile inner surface of the cap is whitish and pubescent (having soft, short and erect “hairs”). Although the edibility of M. frustrata was not mentioned in the original description, Kuo has elsewhere written of the edibility of North American Morchella. In general, morels should not be eaten raw, as they can trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Their flavor is enhanced after they are fried, stuffed, or dried.


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