Black Morel Identification – Morchella elata

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This post is part of our “100 Plants and Mushrooms” series. Here, you’ll see the mushroom’s main parts – its cap, gills or pores, stipe, and more – all with key identification features.

For those who enjoy foraging, the Black Morel, scientifically known as Morchella elata, is a real treat. This edible fungus is lesser-known compared to its relative, the Common Morel or Morchella esculenta. Now, let’s delve into the world of the Black Morel, learning how to identify it and where you’re most likely to find it.

Black Morel: Key Parts in Photos

How to identify Black Morel

The Black Morel stands out with its unique cap. Picture a honeycomb, full of holes and ridges. That’s how the top of this mushroom looks. As it gets older, the outside lines of these holes turn dark, almost black. This dark edge makes the lighter inside parts pop out more. The cap’s shape is like a cone, getting wider at the bottom. And the colors are all kinds of browns, from dark olive to deep brown, or even black.

The Black Morel’s stipe is white or cream-colored at first. As it gets older, it might turn a shade of brown. The stipe has lines going up and down. If you were to cut the mushroom in half, you’d see that it’s empty inside, like a tube. At the top, where the stipe meets the cap, there’s a space. It’s like the stipe and the cap aren’t completely attached. As the mushroom grows older, this space gets bigger.

If you ever get to touch or see the inside, you’d find it’s white and thin. When fresh, there’s a light and pleasing smell that gets stronger if you let it dry.

Every mushroom has its own fingerprint, called a spore print. If you were to take a Black Morel and let it drop spores on paper, they would look cream-colored. Under a microscope, they’d look like tiny ovals.

Want to learn more?

Our new book, “A New Forager’s Guide to Wild Foods,” is available on Amazon. It helps beginners learn about how to identify and cook with these 100 common plants and mushrooms. Click the buy button on the right and order your copy now!

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