If your yard is anything like mine, you have as much square footage covered in mushrooms as you do grass. The extremely wet spring has led to a boom in spring mushrooms.

There are a large number of edible mushrooms that can be found throughout our great state of Montana, but there are also several toxic mushrooms. If you plan to head out on the hunt, invest in a good Montana mushroom guidebook, or find yourself an expert.

The foraging holy grail has to be the Morel, doesn’t it?

Common morel fungus growing in the forest

In Montana, you can find yellow, black, and natural morels.

The Yellow Morel can be found in spring around cottonwood trees, in the vicinity of water, like stream beds, rivers banks, etc. The yellow morel can range in color from yellow to gray and will be covered in ridges and pits. They grow in patches, so if you find one keep looking.

Black Morels. Several different kinds of Black Morels can be found in Montana. The cap can range from black to brown to grey, the older the mushroom the darker they become.

Black ‘Burn’ Morels sprout one year after a forest or grassland fire. When looking for Burn Morels search the edges of the fire-burned area, where the fauna meets the char.

Natural black Morels can be found in spring and summer, in forests and heavily vegetated areas. They are similar to Burn Morels, but normally browner in color.

cooking-morel-mushrooms-1024x768- Townsquare sharepoint

And of course, it can’t end there and be nice and easy, no.

There are also toxic ‘False Morels’. If you consume them, you and your porcelain throne are going to be friends for a while. The way to differentiate between real and false morels is by examining the cap of the mushroom. Cut the mushroom in half length-wise, and take a look. If the bottom of the cap attaches to the stem at the bottom, and the entire core is hollow, (ala easter bunny) it IS a morel. If you cut it in half and the cap does NOT connect to the stem, it just attaches to the top of the stem, it is a false morel.

If you cut them in half and you still aren’t sure… pitch them, it’s not worth it.

So that’s a look at the morels you can find in Montana. There are a large amount of spring/summer, and summer/fall mushrooms worth hunting for in the state and we will look at some more later.

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