Sunday, May 26, 2013

Yellow Morels of MN

Please see my previous post Black Morels of MN for some background information to this post
Names for yellow morels in field guides have include, M. esculenta, M. crassipes, M. deliciosa.  All three names are the names of European morels that have been applied to North American morels.  Recent work has shown them to be separate species.  The most common species in the eastern US and MN is probably M. esculentoides.  Other species of "yellow" morels  that could possibly be found in MN are M. cryptica and M. prava.  All three species are related and are part of the Esculenta clade

I think most of the morels I have found in MN are "yellow" morels.  I don't think I have ever found any "black" morels, though I haven't always payed close attention in the past.  I have found smaller, grayer morels that I have assumed to be a separate species, but they are probably actually immature M. esculentoides.

I looked at the records from the Morel Data Collection Project to see what species have been recorded in MN.  There weren't many records from MN, and the only species identified was M. esculenta.  I wonder if it is the only species actually found in MN; the other species I listed were just based on the written range descriptions.  I suppose more appropriate titles for these two posts would be "Possible Morels of MN.

Recent Mushrooms - late May 2013

Dryad's Saddle - Polyporus squamosus

Yellow Morel - Morchella sp.

Most likely M. esculentoides.

Oyster Mushroom - Pleurotus ostreatus

Mica Cap - Coprinellus micaceus

These first three pictures show Mica Caps as it matures.  The last picture below shows a slightly closer view of the fine, mica-like granules that can often be seen on the surface of this mushroom.

Agaricus sp.

Based on its growth in the grass along a sidewalk, and its almost underground growth, these mushrooms are probably Spring Agarics, A. bitorquis.

Orange Mock Oyster - Phyllotopsis nidulans ?

I'm not positive about this one, it looks like P. nidulans, but guides list it as growing in the fall.

Coprinoid Mushroom

Unknown mushroom

Possibly a species of Panaeolus or Psathyrella, possibly not.  I didn't note any details.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Black Morels of MN

Recently there have been two studies examining how the genus Morchella, aka Morels, should be split into species.  One study "Taxonomic revision of true morels in Canada and the United States" by Kuo, et al. from the journal Mycologia looks at just North American species, while the other study "Les Morilles: Une Nouvelle Approach Mondiale du Genre Morchella" by Phillipe Clowez in the journal Bulletin de la Societe Mycologique de France looks at species worldwide (I didn't read this article, it's hard to get, and in French, but I read a nice summary of the Clowez article in FUNGI Magazine entitled "Morels - the Name Game" by Britt A. Bunyard.  The past nomenclature of morels has been a bit inconsistent and confusing, and since the two studies were done independently, the names still don't match up entirely.
I've always just called them all good to eat and not worried about it, but after reading about the two studies I thought I would try to figure out, based on descriptions of ranges, which species are in MN, and to try and familarize myself with morel taxonomy.  This post just concerns the morels that are typically called "Black Morels" and the "Half-Free Morel".

Black Morels
These are the generally earlier, smaller, and darker colored morels in MN.  Past names have included M. elata, M. conica, and M. angusticeps.  The first two names are those of European species applied to similar looking mushrooms found in N. America.  Both Kuo et al. and Clowez use the name M. angusticeps for black morels in the eastern US.  Kuo et al. also describes a very similar, more northern, and smaller species, M. septentrionalis.  It was identified as a separate species based on DNA evidence.

Half-free Morels
I included these morels in this post because they are related to the morels commonly known as "black morels" (all the species in this post are in the Morchella elata, or black morel clade).  It is usually listed as M. semilibera.  Again, this is the name of similar European species.  The eastern US species of Half-free Morel is M. puncticeps.

So in summary, from the ranges listed in the species descriptions, I think the following "black" (in the clade sense) morels could be found in MN:

M. angusticeps
M. septentrionalis
M. puncticeps

Generally these names won't be found in guide books, though you will probably find the generic names Black and Half-free.  They are still the same mushroom, just new names and the recognition of more distinct species than before.  So I'm doing a little research and field work of my own to see what species I can actually find.

Coming soon: the Yellow Morels of MN

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

When Do Red Oak Leaves Drop, part II

I posted in March about the timing of leaf drop in Red Oaks.  The two trees I've been watching dropped most of their leaves over the weekend, when we finally got some warm temperatures (upper 70s).  This spring has been unusually cold, so I'm not sure if the timing is typical, but the cue seemed to be the warm temperatures.
I thought maybe there would be some change in the buds coinciding with the leaves, but that didn't seem to be the case.