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Dave W

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About Dave W

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  • Birthday 05/09/1955

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    Northeast Pennsylvania

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  1. I think that while the ash are dying there will be more morels. But, once these trees are completely dead --as most are in my area-- I think the morels will be set back. Interesting question about the yellows found where there are ash trees. Those spots seem to have continued to produce yellow morels. Actually, my local spot where the blacks have tailed off these past few years is the same general area where I get yellows. But, I have noticed that where the ash trees died --and there are no tulip poplar nearby-- the yellow morels have stopped. These spots produced nice flushes of large yellows while the ash were dying. But other morel patches near ash (mainly dead) mixed with tulip poplar have continued to produce yellows, both Morchella diminutiva and Morchella americana. I think the M. americana --the large yellows-- have been reacting to the dying ash. Also, I think the M. diminutiva is mainly associated with tulip poplar (these small morels are often referred to a "Tulip Morels"). M. americana seems to associate with both ash and tulip poplar. I suspect the Morchella angusticeps will revive in the areas with tulip poplar trees, and at some point in the future there will be good Black Morel years... as long as the tulip poplar stays healthy. The "dead/damaged partner-tree" situation seems to be a motif for which Morchella americana reacts by producing significant flushes (eg. dead elms, dying apple trees, ash). The reproductive cycles of the blacks (M. angusticeps) seems to be more mysterious. Wade, what types of habitat produce Black Morels in your area?
  2. Hepatica and fiddleheads are appearing in my local early morel spot. But no morels yet. This spot had produced 100s of Black Morels each of several different years during the first decade of the 2000s. During that time the Emerald Ash Borer infestation was killing off the white ash trees, and I think this may have stimulated the large flushes of Black Morels at that time. Ash is (very likely) a symbiotic associate of Morchella angusticeps. Now that most of the ash have died, the numbers of morels are way down. Although... other spots where I have found Black Morels that feature mostly tulip poplar trees have also been producing fewer Black Morels during the past 6 or so years. The weather this spring leading up to now seems to have been very good to usher in the early morels... no hard freeze for the past 2-3 weeks, slightly above average temps, some sunny days, and plenty of rainfall. Well, perhaps too much rainfall. Spots that are usually well-drained are currently pretty soggy.
  3. Looks like some old Oyster Mushrooms that probably have repeatedly frozen/thawed. .
  4. Dave W

    morels?

    I find the Devil's Urns in hardwood forests where Black Morels are also found. Seeing the urns lets me know that --as long as the weather cooperates-- the morels are no more than one week away.
  5. When collecting morels from old apple orchards here in eastern NA --especially large orchards where apples have/had been a main cash crop-- it is advisable to test the soil for lead (or consult anyone who knows the history of the orchard). For about 100 years the pesticide lead-arsenate had been sprayed onto apple trees, and in some old orchards the soil is contaminated with this toxin. Morels are known to uptake toxins from their habitat. I checked my local early spot today, none yet but we are close to the first morels here in NE PA.
  6. Dave W

    morels?

    Probably the classic North American Yellow Morel species, Morchella americana (previously M. esculenta and briefly M. esculentoides). Up here in NE PA I checked a spot for early morels today (eastern NA Black Morels, M. angusticeps). None yet. But I saw some Devil's Urns (Urnula craterium), a species which generally fruits about one week in advance of the Black Morels.
  7. It varies annually according to the weather. Also, elevation above sea level and aspect of the habitat you're hunting (north/south facing). I think first two weeks of May should be a good time to look for yellow morels in Pike County. If you know a spot where blacks occur, then maybe April 25 or so.
  8. This latest spore print looks more like what I'd expect from a species of Leratiomyces. The previous photos of the lighter spore print likely represent a species of either Hebeloma or Psathyrella. Looks like you've got at least two different species growing in those wood chips. You can get a lot of good info from a scope that magnifies to 400x.
  9. Photos taken outdoors --but not in direct sunlight-- tend to convey colors most accurately. Photos taken using indoor lighting tend to inaccurately portray color. I usually look for a spot outside that's shaded but very close to an open sunny area. The shade reduces glare and the nearby well-lit area provides ambienit light. If it's cloudy, an area in the open may work well. It's often useful to experiment with different outdoor lighting scenarios, as well as a variety of different perspectives. I suspect the spore print seen in the photos is reflecting some light which makes it appear to be less dark than in reality. But, this may be incorrect. There appears to be a slight purplish tinge to the print. The first photo (top) looks like Hebeloma. But, the gills seen in subsequent photos look to be too dark for Hebeloma. Also, a few of the caps appear to feature small scales on the surface. This is also something I would not expect for Hebeloma. Another thought that comes to mind is genus Psathyrella. Most mushrooms in this genus have very dark spore print, with a few exceptions that feature pinkish spore prints similar to the one seen here. The mushrooms seen in the 4th photo down do look some what like Psathyrella. Psathyrella mushrooms are fairly fragile; they break apart easily. Assuming the spore print is actually darker than what appears in the photos, my guess is Leratiomyces; but I don't have much confidence in this proposal. Use of a microscope may be necessary here.
  10. The print color should be darker for genus Leratiomyces. Also seems kinda on the light side for Agrocybe. Which mushroom pictured was used to obtain the spore print? Also, it looks like the print in the photo is on glass, and a beam of light is directed onto it. I believe I see a shadow being cast onto a surface by the print... beneath what I think is the piece of glass.
  11. One possibility for at least some of these may be Agrocybe putaminum. But one feature that's a bit off for this species in the very dark mature gills. Another possibility is Leratiomyces riparius. Spore print color may be useful here. You would need a thick print in order to distinguish between Agrocybe (dark cigar-brown) and Leratiomyces (purple brown). Also, an immature Leratiomyces mushroom will feature a partial veil covering the gills. Some species of Agrocybe also have partial veils; except A. putaminum does not. California Fungi says Leratiomyces riparius has a hollow stem when mature http://www.mykoweb.com/CAF/species/Leratiomyces_riparius.html . There are other possibilities. In particular --although I don't think these mushrooms really fit the profile-- Hebeloma mushrooms are quite poisonous. Also, there may be more than one species represented in these photos.
  12. Need to see the base of the stalk. The mushroom needs to be carefully excavated in order to assess important details. The photo of the cap underside appears to show gills that are beige/tan, but this may just be because there's not enough light falling onto the underside. This is another reason why the mushroom needs to be completely extracted from the soil. I think these represent a species of Amanita. But assessing the particular section of genus Amanita is tricky here. The short marginal striations on the cap, coupled with what appears to be a partial veil (ring/deposit on the upper stalk), suggests section Amanita. But, I think these may not be true striations; rather just grooves formed because the mushrooms are a bit dried out and the thin cap margin has shrunk/contracted along the lines of gill attachment. I say this because the overall appearance of the mushrooms reminds me of section Phalloideae. The deposits encircling and clinging to the lower part of the stalk look more like remnants of universal veil rather than partial veil. Not seeing the base of a stalk means a major piece of information unavailable. Spore print color would help to support or eliminate genus Amanita from consideration. Amanita mushrooms have white prints. Are there any trees nearby?
  13. These are Gyromitra caroliniana (Big Red), a species of False Morel. I have not seen this species in my area (NE PA). But I have seen this type in New Jersey once. Difficult to say how early this NJ mushroom had fruited, as Gyromitra mushrooms tend to persist in situ for up to several weeks. In my area we get Gyromitra korfii, and this species does often occur prior to the true morels. I have found G. korfii as early as March 20.
  14. These look like a species of Pleurotus to me. Were they found growing on a hardwood or conifer tree? Pleurotus species grow on hardwood trees; Pleurocybella porrigens grows on coniferous wood. If you take a spore print, then collect it on two non-porous/non-absorbent surfaces, one white and one black. Pleurotus mushrooms come in different species; some have white prints some --like the classic Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus-- have pale smoky gray/lilac prints. The deviation from white is best seen against a white background.
  15. Looks like Pleurotus to me. If you take a spore print, then collect it on two non-porous/non-absorbent surfaces, one white and one black. Pleurotus mushrooms come in different species; some have white prints some --like the classic Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus-- have pale smoky gray/lilac prints. The deviation from white is best seen against a white background. Pleurocybella porriogens --Angel Wings-- are pure white in color and have white spore print. This species grows on wood of coniferous trees.
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