Australian Morels

Australian Morel

Morchella esculenta

Its not widely know that Australia has a handful of native and introduced morels (Morchella) species. I am fortunate to have found a yellow morel Probably a member of the Morchella esculenta cluster. I found them locally growing by a river under small leaf privet, ferns and rain forest regen, they fruit from sandy loam. I’ve found them two years in a row after a wet period in September or early October. Recently i have seen some photos of a similar species from a bit further north. I think its likely that the yellow morels are reasonably common in this part of the country.

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Morchella species ready to fry

Morels are one of the worlds most sought after gourmet mushroom. I was well pleased that my find has great taste and texture when cooked, in my opinion this rules out M. rufobrunnea as a possibility. We sent some away for DNA analysis but unfortunately we were unable to get a result. I am hopeful to find some more this season so I can try again. A quick search on the Atlas of living Australia yields over twenty records from Australia from the esculenta group. Some in southern Queensland, others further south in NSW and Victoria.

Update: I have got DNA results back on these morels, the results were a 98% percent match for Morchella palazonii a new species from Spain. A 98% match is a long way from being the same species and the consensus with my morels are that they are probably a new species. I now have a contact in France for a morel expert who actually did the work on naming Morchella palazonii so I hope to send him a sample this year. Last season was a bust and I only collected about ten so heres hoping that this season is better!

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