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Morchellaceae: The Morel Family
The morels are a small, but well known and delicious family of mushrooms. They live in the soil and help to decay organic matter. Of this family I am only familiar with the true morels, especially Morchella esculenta. In mid-May on a warm day after a good rain, that is the time to go hunting morel mushrooms among the cottonwood groves that follow the rivers here in southwestern Montana. Unfortunately, we are often short of either rain or warmth in May, so sometimes I do more hunting than gathering. Tree mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) are a good consolation prize when the morels are in short supply. Sometimes morels can be found at a higher elevation in June, growing among the aspens. One thing I've learned about morels is that it is difficult to predict where they will pop up each year. A rich spot often yields nothing the following year.
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