This time of year, there are a lot of people in the woods that normally are not in the woods. Some people venture outdoors at this time of year because its the first time you don’t need a jacket and the bugs and poison ivy are less visible. There is also a growing number of people who are drawn out of their comfort zone by the thrill of the nature treasure hunt. Although the hunt can be a year-round activity, many start and end the hunt with the Morel Mushroom Season.
This year I have found 4 different species of Morels, but on my recent hike near the Youghiogheny River Lake, I found the species known as Morchella esculentoides or Morchella americana. It is commonly called the yellow morel and is frequently found under dead/dying Elm trees, Tulip Poplar trees, apple trees, etc. I found 14 of them under mostly dead elm trees and cooked them for dinner with “Ramp butter” that I made from Ramps that I harvested earlier.
In the gallery below, you will see a sample of the nature treasures that I photographed during my hike. Notice the Ruby-Throated hummingbird who came all the way from Mexico or Florida and stopped in the woods to drink nectar from the golden dead-nettle flower (Lamium galeobdolon). You can also see a photos of a moth who didn’t travel very far or last very long after it was attacked by a fungus called Akanthomyces aculeatus. To learn more, you can read about the deadly and the mutualistic relationships between fungi and insects. You can also see a unique plant called “Jack-in-the-pulpit” (Arisaema triphyllum) which becomes a Ginseng plant look-a-like in the fall season.
What treasures are you finding?