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Morel: description and photos

One of the first types of mushrooms to appear in forests and parks is the morel. In regions with a warm climate, the hunting season for these interesting mushrooms begins in May and lasts until frost. There are several types of this culture. The semi-free morel (lat. Morchellaceae) can be difficult for inexperienced mushroom pickers to distinguish from their doubles, edible and poisonous.

Where do semi-free boletes grow?

It is rare for mushroom pickers to come across semi-vacant boletus stocks. They grow in the middle zone of Russia and the southern regions. In Germany they are collected in forests and parks, while in Poland they are included in the Red Book.

Semi-free boletes grow mainly in deciduous forests where birch trees predominate. You can also find this species near aspen, linden or in oak groves. It is difficult to look for these mushrooms, since they prefer to hide in tall grass and even in weeds, which is unusual for other representatives of the mushroom kingdom.

Experienced lovers of silent hunting recommend looking for semi-free boletes in places of old forest fires.

What do semi-free chanterelles look like?

The name semi-free chanterelle comes from the special structure of the cap. The small hat is covered with cells compared to the stalk. It gives the impression that the fungus is shrinking.

The maximum height of semi-free chanterelle can reach 15cm. However, most of the specimens that occur do not exceed 6-7 cm.

The cap of the semi-free chanterelle is brown and has an irregular cone shape. The color nuance can vary from light to dark. The stem is hollow inside and white or yellowish-olive in color.

A feature of the semi-free chanterelle is the attachment of the cap and stem. These two parts of the fruit body only touch at one point. The lower edge of the mushroom cap is free.

Can you eat half-free mushrooms

Scientists categorize semi-free mushrooms as conditionally edible. They should not be eaten raw. There is a small amount of the toxin gyromitrin in the fruiting body. This substance inhibits the production of red blood cells and has a negative effect on the functioning of the liver and spleen. By cooking the foods that contain a large amount of toxins, the substance migrates into the water. The product will be safe. After the previous thermal processing, various dishes and sauces can be prepared from the semi-free mushroom.

Important! The water in which the mushrooms were cooked must not be used for cooking food.

Flavorful qualities of the boletus semi-free

Porcini mushrooms are considered a delicate product in many European countries. In Russia, these mushrooms are not particularly popular. Although this type of mushroom has an intense mushroom aroma and taste inherent in it.

Chefs find that the method of preparation also changes the taste of the mushroom product. Therefore, lovers of the silent hunt strive to stock up on dried and frozen stocks in order to enjoy all the splendor of this amazing gift of the spring forest.

Benefit and harm to the body

Semi-free morels consist of at least 90% water and contain hardly any fat. The high amount of vegetable protein, vitamins and polysaccharides makes these mushrooms particularly attractive for those who want to shed excess pounds.

In folk medicine, morel preparations are used to treat eye diseases and to combat joint and spinal diseases. Scientists believe that eating properly prepared mushrooms can improve metabolism and bowel function.

The substances contained in the mushroom in a semi-free form promote insulin production, which has a positive effect on the health of people with diabetes.

The pharmaceutical industry uses different types of morels to produce antioxidant and blood-cleansing agents.

Spring mushrooms are contraindicated for pregnant and lactating women. However, ready-made preparations based on porcini mushrooms are used on a doctor’s prescription for the treatment of toxins of pregnancy.

The consumption of mushrooms is limited in liver diseases (cholecystitis), stomach problems (ulcers, acute gastritis) and individual intolerance.

Poisoning with all types of mushrooms can occur as a result of improper processing and violation of the rules for storing food.

False doppelgangers of morels with half free hat

Besides the resemblance to morels with a half-open hat, there are also false doubles that can be dangerous to human health.

The fake or stinky morel

Botanists also refer to this species as the common morel. The mushroom grows throughout Russia from May to mid-autumn.

The morel appears on the surface of the soil as a white egg. At this stage it is considered edible. In France, for example, delicacies are made from morels. In this form, the fungus can grow for several days. Then, in an extremely short period of time (15 minutes), the egg bursts, and a mushroom with a thin stalk and a porous hat appears. A characteristic feature of morels is the unpleasant smell of rotting flesh.

Confuse false and semi-free species is very difficult. The slimy surface and rainbow scent will help you identify the find correctly.

The Cone Shaped Slime Mold and the Slime Mold Hat

People often confuse the semi-free slime mold with the cone-shaped type and the slime mold cap. These variants differ in the attachment of the cap and their color. But they are not dangerous for mushroom pickers. Conditionally edible plant products can be consumed after proper processing.

Cone-shaped slime mold in the photo:


It is important not to confuse the semi-free morel with the cordials of the Discinaceae family. Although they belong to different species, externally they are very similar. The cellular structure of the hat in a color palette makes the knits the most dangerous for beginners.

An important difference that mushroom pickers should note is the closed structure of the stem and the close fitting of the hat.

Both species contain the same toxin, but in different amounts.

Rules for collecting porcini mushrooms

Mycologists claim that fungi can accumulate harmful substances from the atmosphere and soil in their fruiting bodies. Therefore, it is forbidden to collect them in ecologically questionable areas.

Collection takes place in forests at least one kilometer away from busy roads and close to industrial plants.

The stalk is cut off with a knife above the soil surface so as not to affect the condition of the mushroom mycelium.

No old specimens are collected. Damaged mushrooms, attacked by insects or mold, are also not put in the basket.


The porcini mushroom is not normally used for pickling or marinating. It is most commonly used or dried immediately after collection. Less often, the collected harvest is frozen for the winter.

Before preparation, the mushrooms are soaked for at least an hour and rinsed well. Due to the porous structure of the hat, sand, loose soil and other debris can be collected.

The mushrooms are boiled for about half an hour, and then be sure to rinse them with running water. Only after this treatment can the fruit bodies be fried or used to prepare other warm dishes.

They dry the spring harvest outdoors in the shade. The lack of ventilation in the oven can make the canning process hazardous to health. Toxins contained in the caps and stems can cause allergic reactions in people with susceptibility.

The dried powder can be consumed three months after preparation. It is believed that toxic substances are completely broken down during this period.


The chestnut boletus is considered one of the most interesting mushrooms by “silent hunter” enthusiasts despite its humble appearance. The early appearance in the woods and the absence of worms in the fruiting bodies make this type of mushroom particularly popular.

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