Mitrophora semilibera

Mitrophora semilibera
Image Courtesy of Peter Katsaros
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Group of Fungi: Morels

Family: Morchellaceae

Latin Name: Mitrophora semilibera (DC.) LÚv.

Common Name: Half-free Morel

Description: Total height 2–6 in (5–15 cm), consisting of a conical or bell-shaped cap with elongated longitudinal ridges and cross ridges held aloft on a cylindrical stalk, cap 3/4–1 1/4 (2–3 cm) wide and 3/4–1 in (2–2.5 cm) high, ridges of the cap brown and the pits in the cap a lighter yellow-brown, lower margin of cap flaring outward from the stalk; stalk 1 5/8–4 in (4–10 cm) long, 3/8–3/4 in (1–2 cm) in diameter, smooth to slightly furrowed, hollow, white to pale yellow; spores cream to light buff in mass.

Biological Role: Often listed as decomposers of litter and humus, but there is some evidence that morels can form mycorrhizal associations with forest trees.

Habitat: On the ground in broadleaf forests; solitary or occurring in small or large groups.

Geographical Distribution: Found throughout North America.

Comments: Mitrophora semilibera tends to fruit early in the season and in some regions of eastern North America it is the most commonly encountered morel. Although edible when cooked, this species is not as highly regarded as either the common morel or the black morel. The half-free morel is the only morel in which the lower margin of the cap is not attached directly to the stalk.



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