Morel Mushroom Growth Studies

Do morel mushrooms pop right up full size overnight when the weather is just right? NO! They do not pop up in one day, EVER! It is a very slow process once they first emerge… It is all about the weather! Even with the absolute premium weather conditions, (slow spring warm up, plenty of moisture, no sudden cold-snaps), they will not grow more than an inch per day. From 1st emerging until fully mature does vary with different species. You can see this in just a bit…

5-6 days

How do you explain the fact that often I go hunting early in the day. As I get out of my truck, almost immediately I find a few close to where I parked. I’m out hunting for 6+ hours when I return to my truck, there is a few new ones that popped-up while I was gone. They grew to 5″ tall in 6 hours time! So how do you explain this?  Well, when you first entered the woods, you were overjoyed to find some so quickly, you simply passed right by a few, eager to go deep and find a motherload! Upon returning, you approached from a different angle, and now the tree, leaf, or plant that eluded you earlier is not blocking them in plain sight! 

But, I have left some for several days and often go back to check, and there is almost no change in size… As I said before, it is a very slow process and it all depends on the precise weather conditions. They may started growing, say up to 2″, and then there is no rain, soil is dry, which stunts growth, or maybe a big cold snap occurs. If it stays too cool (like not getting higher than 50-55 degrees for an extended period), especially when it was much warmer for a couple weeks prior, this will literally stop the growing process. Even when it warms back up, they will only grow about 1/4 of what they would have if it continued to be a consistent temperature for them, (like 65-75 for highs). They will change color as they mature.

morel growth 13 days, mid 70’s and still gray

I usually find the “black morels” 1st, about a week before I spot a “Gray Morel”. Soon afterwards, I start to find some “Half-free morels”. The end of the season is when he big “Yellow morels” pop-up. I only have found these 3 different species. I like the Gray Morel species the best!  Well… Actually the smaller “Gray morels” continue growing, at least another 2 weeks, and gradually change color and size, from gray to tan, then yellow, and finally golden color! Below you can see the color change. Also, this one started with a 2.5″ gray and at this point, the morel was already 8-10 days out of the ground! This gives a total growth time of 25+ days!

Another example:

So do the other species of morels also grow for a long time?  YES! Below you   can see how the different species grow and change color, stem size, diameter of pits, etc.

Black Morel:

Half-Free Morel:

This species grows unique from other morels. The cap first emerges, (almost full-size), and then the stem pushes upwards. At maturity, the ridges on the cap become black. It also grows to maturity faster than all others, usually about 10-15 days total.

10 days

Tulip Morels:

So if this is all true, it sounds like I need to just be patient and let them grow to maturity… Crap, think of how many more millions of spores would have dispersed if I had let them grow to maturity… Now I feel bad! Some people have said though that they release 100% of their spores within the first 7-10 days. Is this true? Sorry, more MIS-INFORMATION! Propaganda! They continue releasing spores until the very end! The video below shows spores floating out through the air. It also shows fully mature yellow morels that were laid out on a car to photograph, and within 10 minutes the spore print was incredible.

Here are several more amazing growth studies with related subject of growth:

Here are several more amazing videos with related subject of growth:

Hope you enjoyed this! Happy hunting!   -Chris Matherly

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