Morel Mushroom Hunting Club

Newsletter January 2007

"Mushroom Growth"

By: Chris Matherly

Below is a series of photos take by Hugh Urban in Ohio of a clump of Oyster Mushrooms. He happened to catch them at their earliest stage of appearance. As time progresses, you can see how they take shape. Weather, Moisture, Temperature, and time of year determine how fast a mushroom can grow.

December 11th                                                                           December 13th 

December 15th                                                                             December 16th

December 17th                                                                            December 18th

December 19th                                                                             December 20th

        December 21st- Much colder weather has further darkened the clump.                December 22nd, more rain and more growth.

December 27th, 15 days of growth

The biggest clump in the center is the one we have been doing an experiment with. The other clusters have formed also, along this stretch of time.

Weather has played the biggest part in the growth of these Oyster Mushrooms. Warm, Spring-like weather in December, with dry soil in the beginning and then an abundance of moisture and colder temps part ways through the experiment. 


Other Mushroom Growth: (Below Photos By: Chris Matherly)

Left shows a very young "button" of Amanita muscaria, and 4 days later- a 6 inch diameter mature mushroom!

Left again shows the young stage. Right there they are fully opened and "blooming", 3 days later.

Morchella deliciosa, caught yellow and mature to the left, and a tiny morel "bud", on the right, and still gray.

March 22nd                                                         April 6th

Morchella esculenta, in the young gray stage to the left, 2 1/2 inches tall, and 15 days later- 6 inches tall and fully yellow!

     I have witnessed Morels growing very slowly in cold conditions, and staying fresh enough to eat for over 3 weeks! The only way that they would "pop" up so to speak, would be if a great rise in temperatures occurred say, above 85-90 degrees for a couple of days. This would make them rapidly expand and mature. I have had so many people explain to me, that they would go hunting early in the morning and hit a patch of morels, then be gone in the woods all day long and return back through the early patch they had found, and find more that just "popped" up. I am very sorry to say, but this is not the case! As good of a hunter as you think you are, you simply did not see the ones earlier in the same spot. Morels are elusive, and blend into the background quite easily. Approaching from one direction, later to come in from a different direction, many times will let you "sniff-out" more mushrooms! Last year, after the Illinois Morel Hunting Championship, I returned later in the day to try and locate a camera that I had lost. I found one clump of morels, missed by over 500 contestants, that contained over 50 Morels! Did they "pop" up during the time from morning until afternoon? Heck NO! 500 people walked right by the mushrooms and they eluded them!! Below is a photo of my Son Elijah, pointing out the clump!

Happy Hunting! -Chris M

Related articles: Morel Growth Study, by Pam Kaminski (Black Morels), Morel Growth Study, by Chris Matherly ( M. Esculenta), are located in the member areas, as well as a previous newsletter titled "Do Morels Grow, or Just Pop-Up?"

Special thanks to Hugh Urban for his efforts and photography of this experiment, and his resistance to temptation to harvest these fine Oysters before the experiment was completed!

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