Thank you, Buddy for the photograph and for the reminder that these are NOT morels or even FALSE MORELS. Not even the same genus. Please don’t eat these, even if you have been told they are edible. Many folks have eaten these for years, but the toxin in them can build up in your systerm and cause great illness later, if not right away. The name is very deceiving because they are not excellent. Note the brainy-type head, not the ridges and pits of morels. They grow in the same habitat and at the same time of year. Beginners beware!
From Buddy: “We went to Cultus Lake on Monday and found about a dozen morels, all of them in pretty good shape considering that the forest is so dry. The campground hose told me that on Saturday and Sunday, several people had gone through the campground carrying grocery bags half filled with morels, so we may have missed the season there. I also found two spring bolete buttons, and I don’t think they have really started yet. But, the trillium are in full bloom. I hope some of you had better luck.”
From Buddy: “I found the strangest, largest morel today up around Meissner Snow Park that I’ve ever found. When I got it home I put it on our postal scale and it weighed six ounces.The first picture is when it came out of the ground, and the other is after I cut in half. It reminded me of someone’s brain……. Has the east side of the Cades been irradiated by aliens? Anyone have any suggestions as to why it looked like that?”
Ron and I and a couple friends headed to Green Ridge yesterday, Sunday. We found maybe a dozen morels near the top of the ridge (4500-4900 ft.) and most were good size (3″) and in good shape. Ron found 2 fresh small Spring Kings, but little else. Our friends found fewer morels but a couple of them were large beautiful blondes in perfect shape. I was surprised how few people we saw up hunting. I think the commercial folks have all moved on to fungier pastures.
The Portland group, OMS, was up there this weekend (I thought it was last weekend) and I heard they had many beginners who were delighted to find their first morels and boletes. No huge stashes, though one woman had 100 morels. I got a chance to chat a little with Dr. Beug and buy his new book on Ascomycetes of North America. Beautiful photos. If the rain continues, anything can happen.
“I went out for about two hours this morning and found these beautiful, large, morels on the side roads around Meissner Snow Park on the Cascades Lake Highway. The park itself has been pretty well picked over (although I met a lady that had just found the most perfect King Bolete I have ever seen) but if you stay in the spruce/fir/pine along the little side roads, there are lots of mushrooms. Most of the ones I found are in open areas, away from the trees, where there aren’t large collections of pine needles. They aren’t everywhere but if you find one, there are usually a lot more nearby. And they are big….really big.”
If you keep going on Rd 41 and head to the areas that have white fir, you might get lucky like my good friend Joanne. I, unfortunately, found nothing edible! This area gets picked frequently but we decided that they can’t get them all! 4600 ft. Thursday, May 14.
“..the big morels are beginning to pop in the Ochocos. This is about half of what we found in an hour’s gathering. They are in the spruce/fir/pine mix, and mainly on the sunny open hillsides away from the trees.”
“Picked a few nice morels this morning out Century Drive. The big morel on the right measured 5”. The yellows are especially nice. The bolete came from near the Camp Sherman turnoff, also this morning. Yeah, fate took me two different directions, so only got in a bit of searching at two far-flung sites. The woods south of Bend looked, smelled, and felt “right” this morning. The picking should be pretty decent for the next week or two, I hope.”
We will have another spring meeting for the club, this time at the Environmental Center in Bend, 16 NW Kansas, on Wedsnesday, May 13, at 6:00. Bring any mushroom you have found in your adventures! Laurence Boomer will do an abbreviated replay of his morel talk from April’s meeting for all those who were turned away or couldn’t make the meeting. He has new morel trivial questions for you to ponder. I (Linda) will give a short slide show of spring mushrooms in Central Oregon, spending more time on indicator species for finding morels. We will share our mushroom hunting stories. Please come and bring a friend!
We had 25 folks gather on Saturday, May 2, for a field trip up to the area near Jack Creek and surrounding side roads. Julie and I split the group with Paul and Mia as back up support. Some folks, but not everyone, found morels. The yellow spring corals (Ramaria rasilispora) were generally young enough to take home and try, so many participants did. I am waiting for comments on their experience. The delight on Penny’s face (“This made my day!) and Richard’s big smile was worth the whole field trip when they found their first morel. Mia and others found a few nice Spring King buttons (Boletus rex-veris) in the campgroung but I wasn’t so lucky. What a beautiful day with Calypso orchids, wood violets and strawberry blossoms brighting up the forest floor. Such Fun!
And it is DRY out there. Please do your best rain dance!