Growing morel mushrooms

Richard Winder rwinder at PFC.Forestry.CA
Fri Sep 30 11:35:00 EST 1994

In article <363c59$ml6 at>, boe666 at (P. Gordon Werner) writes:
>TennentG at (Geoff Tennant) writes:
>> I seem to remember reading a paper/abstract somewhere that some morels had 
>>a symbiotic (mycorrhizal) relationship with various ferns and grasses.  If 
>>true then surely this IS a scam of note.

I think I've seen reports for at least one type of tree, too.

>I don't think this is the case; if morels do engage in mycorrhizae, then 
>its certainly not of the obligate kind.  The fact that Morels do so well 
>in the wake of disturbance, especially forest fires, seems to rule aginst 
>their being obligate mycorrhizal fungi.

Agreed.  Under these conditions they operate more like cryophiles- microbes
which thrive best in very cold, nutrient rich soils, but are usually 
outcompeted in warmer soils.  Whole forests used to be burnt down in Russia
to encourage morels- a practice which surely would not have become popular
if it was necessary to have mycorrhizae.

>Has there been much research into why morels fruit so abundantly in the 
>wake of fires?  The explanation I've heard is that the sugars released by 
>burnt/broken shallow roots into the soil are good for morels.
Morels seem to really love calcium, hence their association with ashes and
limestone.  (The pectin in apples also probably has a good deal of calcium)
Some work has shown that its not only the calcium that's important, but
what usually comes with it- low concentrations of manganese.

They also seem to love wood or wood extracts or cellulose- I'm not sure if 
anything has been narrowed down there.  The largest fruitings I've heard
about on Vancouver Island occur on old Indian middens, where huge heaps of 
clam shells are overlayed with centuries of decaying moss. Shells are high
in manganese as well as calcium, and I assume the dead moss acts as a
nutrient source and water/waste wick.	Then again, maybe they are
mycorrhizal with the living moss and ferns on top.	-RSW

  RICHARD WINDER                    Title: Research Scientist
  Canadian Forest Service           Phone: (604) 363-0773
  Victoria, B.C.                    Internet: RWINDER at A1.PFC.Forestry.CA

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