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Discover Nature: Morels

This week on Discover Nature, morel mushrooms are beginning to find their way to the surface of Missouri’s soils.

Recognizable by their earthy color and brain-like form, morels are a hot commodity throughout Missouri. Morel mushrooms commonly appear after warm, moist spring weather when daytime temperatures are in the low 70s and nighttime temperatures are in the 50s. They often grow in bunches in varied locations.

Morels are tasty if prepared correctly, but it is imperative that you know for certain that you have harvested a morel before you eat it. Misidentifying and consuming toxic mushrooms can cause anything from mild stomach issues to organ failure or even death. There are several mushroom species in Missouri which are considered toxic and not recommended for consumption, and tips for identifying these species can be found at mdc.mo.gov. Most public lands in Missouri allow the collecting of mushrooms for personal use, but it is important to check the area regulations before you harvest.

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