Morel Mushroom Hunting in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio

One of the first mushrooms that I went hunting for was the Morel Mushroom. Eight years ago, I had some leased land in Ohio and two Amish brothers that I knew offered to show me how to find them. They had been picking morels for more than 20 years, so they made it look easy. We looked on a south facing hillside, under partially dead elm trees. They showed me how to identify elm trees without their leaves which is an important skill to have during morel season.

Identifying trees is critical for success in all seasons actually, since many mushrooms are symbiotic with or associated with particular trees.

Below are a few of the morel mushrooms that we found amongst the multiflora rose bushes. The variety of morel is the American yellow morel – Morchella esculentoides/americana.

Here are some additional yellow morels that I have found over the past few years, mostly under Elm, Apple and Tulip Poplar trees.

I have found three additional varieties since then – Black Morels (Morchella angusticeps), Half-Free Morels (Morchella punctipes), and Morchella diminutiva.

I found these Morchella angusticeps in Pennsylvania under shagbark hickory trees.

Another variety is called a “Half-Free” since the cap edges are not fused to the stem like the yellow morels. The cap is attached underneath with the edges hanging free. The scientific name for this North American species is Morchella punctipes.

I found the fourth species last year for the first time. This species is called Morchella diminutiva.

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