Morchella esculenta, (commonly known as common morel, morel, yellow morel, true morel, morel mushroom, and sponge morel) is a species of fungus in the family Morchellaceae of the Ascomycota. It is one of the most readily recognized of all the edible mushrooms and highly sought after. Each fruit body begins as a tightly compressed, grayish sponge with lighter ridges, and expands to form a large yellowish sponge with large pits and ridges raised on a large white stem.
The pitted yellow-brown caps measure 2–7 cm (0.8–2.8 in) broad by 2–10 cm (0.8–3.9 in) tall, and are fused to the stem at its lower margin, forming a continuous hollow. The pits are rounded and irregularly arranged. The hollow stem is typically 2–9 cm (0.8–3.5 in) long by 2–5 cm (0.8–2.0 in) thick, and white to yellow.
The fungus fruits under hardwoods and conifers during a short period in the spring, depending on the weather and is also associated with old orchards, woods, and disturbed grounds.
Uses of morel mushrooms
Morel is one of the most easily recognized edible mushrooms and is highly sought after. However, raw morels are poisonous and must always be cooked before consumption. The species has been found to have medicinal properties, including anti-tumor and antiviral effects, immune-regularity properties, and fatigue resistance. Morels have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat indigestion, excessive phlegm, and shortness of breath. In wider Asia, they are used to produce enzymes that act as a food preservative.