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More to Morels

More to Morels

Let us cut to the chase of it all.

If you go to University of Wisconsin you can find Tom Volks’ drawing of the morel life cycle.  Seen here.

Morels are fungi, mushrooms, but unlike some of their delicious friends shiitake, oyster, crimini, so forth they are not part of the ‘gilled’ family of fungi called ‘basidiomycota’.

Whereas morels are part of ‘ascomycota’  which means….they can produce reproductive spores on their mycelial network.

Why is this distinction important?

Because it means morels have a choice of how they should pass on life.

  • via the mycelium
  • via the mushroom

My work over the past 3 years has been answering the question of what dictates a morels path.

Well fast forward to todays trials and not to bore you with all the trialing and testing that occurred.

This is what looks to be morels dual life cycle side by side.  The right area(light yellow) being the initial cycle which could be spore loaded, and the lower left corner(white) being the ‘secondary’ cycle as I’ve come to call it which does not contain spores.

I now understand what could be the defining character in why morels choose the other cycle and or what gives them the ability to choose the other cycle.

*And no I won’t tell you.





What did this do?
These condensed mycelial spots began to occur with what appears to be some sort of translucent center.

What are they?

Morel primordia?

Condensed hyphae where metabolites come out of?




Well to test that cultivators, like me, have a few things we do.

Agar or Liquid Culture.

Agar is great to decontamination, observation, and transfer.  But it lacks longevity.  Which depending on application is important.  It’s also highly involved process of sterilization and some serious technique.

Liquid culture is great for multiplication, longevity, and easy application to sterilize.  It’s not good for decontamination, observations, and it’s ok in transfers(sterile pipettes).

So depending on your application you need to decide.  Morels are my side-project so on priority liquid culture is ideal due to it’s longevity of me forgetting about it – a lot.

But cloning is essential.  So I cloned this apparent ‘secondary’ mycelium to agar.


Side by side. Type 2(left). Type 1(parent/right)
Type 2 on agar(left) Macro shot(right)












Ok – cloned to agar – now what.  Well in theory if this is non-spore producing mycelium it means the morel has no choice but to produce a ‘mushroom’ in theory. (left)

On the right is side by side of the parent mycelium and the current plate.  The right(parent) would suggest from its’ scattered nature it has spores whereas the left is acting in unison like a normal mushroom.

Now I’ve recently tested this method on other morels, it works, but more testing has to happen.  For now I will be testing this morel due to it’s cooperation.

What does this application mean? For now – I can dictate a change and then to learn what dictates fruiting.  Much like other mushrooms environmental controls of course would come in to play.  Light, temp, humidity, FAE, and so forth all or one can be the discriminating factor.

The agar plates are almost done but may or may not produce morels via agar due to agar simplicity and of course in the nature of mushrooms complex mating structures.

I’ve started new trials already and a few morels are showing even more promising signs.

In the end this is 3+ years of trial controlling, theory, testing, and don’t forget a shit ton of failure and of course money.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the read.  Please share, comment, and so forth and appreciate morels that much more.






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