Here is a list of some of the springtime fungi found in Western Pennsylvania. These begin to appear when the temperatures at night are consistently between 40-60 degrees and the daytime temperatures are between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Colder temperatures and lack of rain will slow down the growth.
Morels are difficult to find and their growing season does not last long. They are a prized and delicious edible. The black morels usually appear first in the season. This year I found the black morels near Shagbark Hickory trees. I found the yellow morels near apple and elm trees. Here is some more information:
Name: Polyporus squamosus
Common Names: Dryad’s saddle or Pheasant’s back
The Polyporus squamosus is very common during the spring months. It is very easy to locate when they first appear because the plant growth in the woods is minimal. If you break one, you will notice that it smells like watermellon rind, however, it does not taste like watermellon. If you harvest them when they are young they make a nice side dish.
Name: Sarcoscypha austriaca
Common Name: Scarlet Elf Cup
This is the eastern North America variety of the Sarcoscypha. It is both easy and difficult to find. It is easy because it is the only thing with color in the spring forest, however it is also very difficult to find because it is usually buried under the leaf litter from the fall season. I found these at the base of a hill near a stream on moss covered wood.
Name: Urnula craterium
Common Name: Devil’s Urn
This springtime cup fungus is also very difficult to find because its color hides it well in the mix of the brown and black colors of the post-winter woods. I found this one attached to a branch that had come to rest in a field of green grass, so I was able to find it easier. Here is some more information:
Name: Coprinellus micaceus
Common Name: Mica Caps
Some say that these mushrooms first appear a week or so before the morels appear. I have also heard that you will find morels in the same area as well. I have not personally proved either point but I have found these at the base of rotting stumps frequently throughout the month of April and May. Here is some more information:
Name: Entoloma vernum
If you do a spore print of these early spring mushrooms, you will learn that they have pink spores which is one of the identifying characteristics of the Entoloma. The name “vernum” comes from the phrase “Tempus vernum” which means spring time. These mushrooms are easy to spot because they appear before most of the plants have begun to grow in the woods.