We spend the year’s first warm afternoons, our precious Awesome Bigfoot with Morel mushroom shirt Saturdays and Sundays, silently checking signs for the precious, funky-shaped fungi — until, semi-dazed, we start seeing the morel cross-hatch everywhere: in dead leaves, sycamore balls, chunks of bark. Sadly, some years the pickings are mighty slim. Even so, Mother Earth’s annual scavenger hunt, with its camouflaged prizes, provides an elemental joy. On our sacred mission, we mushroom hunters witness the burgeoning woods: a grass-blade poking through a dead leaf, the jack rising in his pulpit, the Mayapples spreading like so many green umbrellas. First, if you find a morel mushroom, it has an underground mycelium that grows, digesting nutrients as it goes.
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Eventually, another fruit will form that may be quite some distance Awesome Bigfoot with Morel mushroom shirt from the first fruit you found. I don’t know, offhand, how large of an area a morel individual might eventually cover, but individuals of some mushroom species can cover thousands of acres. A key difference from other mushrooms is the formation of a sclerotium from which the fruit arises. Further, that sclerotium can form either from primary mycelia, generated from a single spore, or a secondary mycelium, generated from the joining of two primary mycelia. You can learn more at Tom Volk’s morel page. Tom is one of the people that developed the above graphic. Slightly off-topic, since this doesn’t show morel mushrooms, is this video that clearly illustrates how spores disperse.