Early Spring Minnesota Mushrooms

a brown wild mushroom in early spring

Hoping to catch the earliest of the season’s morels, Tom and I headed south last weekend in search of the Minnesota State Mushroom. As with any mushroom trip, the central goal – the one that we try to convince ourselves of over and over, as we continue to tote an empty basket – was to have a great walk in the woods. As you can see from these images, we didn’t find any morels. But we had our eyes open for whatever the forest had to share and enjoyed being outside in Minnesota spring, such as it is.

In the first picture below, you’ll see how I originally found one mushroom (uncovered, at right) completely buried in autumn leaves. This was the last fungus we spotted and the most morel-like. Comparing pictures is never a recommended way to identify a mushroom – especially if you plan to eat it – but this one looks a lot like Gyromitra fastigiata or Gyromitra brunnea. While we couldn’t be certain about much of what we saw, Tom was able to identify a few of our finds using our new copy of Mushrooms Demystified, which we brought along but left in the car due to its heft.

After 2+ hours of walking, Tom and I shared a picnic and considered whether to continue looking or head home. We decided on the latter but couldn’t shake the suspicion that actual morels were actively popping up along all those unexplored trails. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to head out again this weekend after stopping by Opening Day at Midtown Farmers Market. You can be sure we’ll keep you posted if we find anything of note or at the very least, something of visual interest on the forest floor.

a brown wild mushroom in early spring

shelf mushrooms and lichen

Scarlet Cup Fungus (sarcoscypha coccinea)

fungus growing where branches once were

lichen and mushrooms in spring

possibly turkey tail mushrooms?

mushrooms on a log

shelf mushrooms and mossshelf mushrooms


«   »

2 comments on “Early Spring Minnesota Mushrooms”

  1. Mike 6 May, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Excellent pictures. I bet those are Gyromitras. They are usually indicative of morels in the area, so that’s a good sign at least!

  2. Amy 7 May, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Martha. You are getting some absolutely marvelous shots. And as usual, observing the tiniest detail to be found on the forest floor–I can’t believe you two wouldn’t spot morels IF they’re there.