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Sep 3, 2006 02:30 PM

The morel mushroom fairy left me a present!

When I went outside to snag my paper this morning, I noticed a morel mushroom growing next to an old oak barrel I use as a planter. It's Labor Day weekend and yet, this confused little mushroom thinks it's spring. We had some heavy rains last night and the temps have hovered in the mid-70's the last week or so. This part of my yard is heavily shaded.

Unfortunately, my nemesis, the squirrel, beat me to it and nipped the top off the mushroom. So, no morels in my breakfast omelet.

Can somehow I dig the mushroom up and shake out the spores to encourage the growth of more of them? How do I do that?


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  1. I would just leave it and let it grow and die. Hopefully it will produce enough spores and they will grow right there in a place they find fruitful.

    1. TDQ, if casting the spores from morels caused them to grow, I'd be tripping over the things all the time. When we hunt 'shrooms in the spring we always use mesh bags to let the spores fall through as we move through the woods. We pour the cleaning water (the unsalted water from the first rinsing)under the apple tree by the house. We throw the mushroom crumbs out there, too. We've done everything except set up a trust fund for them, and all to no avail.

      4 Replies
      1. re: jillp

        I am certainly not a mushroom expert, but I'm pretty sure that the spores have to mature before they'll do any good growth-wise - at which point you probably wouldn't want to eat the mushroom (as, for instance, with the ink cap mushroom - the cap dissolves in order to release the spores). This is probably why none of your morel-proagating methods have worked - the spores are not mature when you pick the mushrooms. Since spores are contained in the "fruiting body" - the part we eat - digging up the roots would do no good, and just destroy the fungus.

        If there was a morel under the OP's tree, it's an indication that there's a fungus there. Come spring she may see more of them.

        1. re: Akatonbo

          Oh, cutting the roots is a major violation of the Morel Hunter's Code, or at least it is in our woods.

          1. re: jillp

            Oh, I wouldn't want to violate any chow'ish codes!

            In the meantime, my morel has collapsed on itself and seems to be returning to the earth from whence it came. Hopefully, this will cause the next generation of morels to "spring" up in this same spot next spring.

            Thanks for all of the great advice everyone. jillp, your comment about doing "everything for them but set up a trust fund" still has me laughing.


          2. re: Akatonbo

            I don't think you're quite right about the mushroom spores not being mature until the mushroom disintegrates into the ground. When using spore prints to identify an unknown mushroom, you place the cap on a piece of paper and allow the spores to be deposited there to determine the colour. Why would the spores be dropping out unless they were ready to "root" so to speak? Being so light, they float through the air like dust, and land wherever they want. I'm not sure what the growth process is for mushroom spores, but I think that once they've settled somewhere they're ready to start growing.

        2. Yikes--I grew up in prime morel hunting territory and never once saw one outside of its spring season.

          Sounds like your chowhounding has been emanating out to the squirrels....

          1. I love morels but this past spring I bought some and when I soaked them to clean them a million little white worms came out of them. I have not eaten one since and am afraid I've been put off them for good.

            1. Check out this link for growing your own morels.