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Australian Morel Mushrooms are highly prized fungi with a short season and are closely protected by foragers. Their delicate flavor blends well with other foods, like tarragon and cream sauces as well as steak and chicken dishes.
These mushrooms were collected from temperate forests in New South Wales and Victoria and identified as Morchella rufobrunnea through DNA matching with existing sequences.
Morel mushrooms can be found worldwide and some people eat them as edible mushrooms; however, it is important to know that many species can be toxic. The Morchella genus encompasses numerous species which resemble one another visually but usually don’t share close evolutionary ties (based on molecular studies).
Morels are edible mushrooms known to foodies worldwide and often featured in cookbooks. Unfortunately, however, they can be difficult to cultivate due to being hard to locate and find.
Morel enthusiasts have recently been reporting black morels from NSW and Victoria, now officially identified as Morchella australiana, a newly discovered Australian species. These black morels were first spotted near Horsham in Victoria; other sightings have occurred near Pilliga scrub in NSW as well. Furthermore, unlike other Australian morels it does not associate itself with recent fire damage zones and no information exists as yet regarding whether this species exists anywhere else – possibly including WA!
Morel mushrooms are highly delicate, and require special care during harvesting and preparation. Cleaning must be performed carefully, and cooking as soon as possible after picking is recommended to avoid an upset stomach or cramps. Furthermore, Morels contain neurotoxic molecules called Gyromitrin that have been linked with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in some people.
When it comes to identifying morel mushrooms, remember that their appearance may resemble other poisonous varieties. The main features that differentiate morels from similar poisonous alternatives are being hollow with a stem attached at their cap and typically yellow, tan, grey-black or olive in color, but this can differ depending on species and season of growing. Most often found in hardwood forests and old orchards but also commonly under conifers; typically fruiting during autumn/winter.
Expert identification is recommended when it comes to morel mushrooms due to their many toxic lookalikes; macroscopic and microscopic characteristics can help distinguish them from their more dangerous relatives.
True morels have hollow, honeycomb-shaped caps characterized by an interweave of ridges and pits resembling honeycomb, while their colours span yellow, tan, grey-brown, red as well as more commonly encountered false morels.
Morels emerge when the soil temperature (4 inches below ground) reaches 55 degrees F (12-13 C), typically at any time throughout the year depending on weather patterns. They often grow near trees such as ash, birch, cottonwood, and sycamore as well as dead or dying pine forests and old orchards – although morels also prefer (though aren’t required) recently burned sites as this increases alkalinity of the soil which fosters their growth.
These honeycomb-esque mushrooms are an essential staple in gourmet restaurants and foragers’ harvests alike, providing unique texture with hollow cone-shaped caps. Harvested fresh in spring or year round from dehydration sources. When added to butter with tarragon or morel and asparagus risotto dishes they add texture, intrigue, and intense flavour that elevate any meal!
Morel mushrooms thrive in cool, damp conditions under deciduous trees and conifers alike; they’re also frequently seen growing near recently burned areas or as endophytes in newly established conifers. Morels typically form endophytic relationships with their host trees, but can act as both endophytes and saprotrophs depending on circumstances.
Morchella australiana, first officially identified in 2014, can be found in wet springs throughout inland NSW and Victoria from Pilliga scrub to Horsham in VIC. They do not appear to be associated with fire like some other morels; possibly being different species than Morchella rufobrunnea collected in burnt Karri forests of Western Australia.