morchella semilibera

O hi! It’s the half-free morel. These guys are some of the first to pop up. 

This handsome fellow stands on a lakeshore under a towering sycamore. Watch out, verpa mushrooms (Verpa bohemica) are very similar in appearance and are toxic. However, the toxic verpa mushroom’s cap attaches to the stem at the top of the cap and hangs down. Also, toxic verpas have “white hair” inside their stalks.

On the other hand, half-free morel caps attach to the stem half way up. And, they are hallow inside like all true morels. 

The MI Dept. of Community Health has a very good publication on verpas vs half-free morels.  Knowing the difference is a must for any morel hunter. 

I eat half-free morels. They’re OK. Honestly, more exciting to find and photography than consume. And, don’t rely on this one chick’s internet post for positive ID in the field. I’m not a mycologist, I make mistakes. Go mushroom hunting with a trusted experienced friend, it’s what I did at first. And, compare lots of different pictures of the same species from your books to the ones you find outdoors. Mother nature doesn’t grow um’ all identical to each other. When in doubt, through it out!

Oh, and if your hunting for food, NEVER MIX DIFFERENT SPECIES IN THE SAME BAG. This is how poisonings occur because people accidentally leave one toxic mushroom in a bunch of edible ones, and don’t notice until it’s too late. YIKES.

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