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Five Trees You MUST KNOW to Find Morel Mushrooms

We all know hunting Morel mushrooms is quite the undertaking... So here's a helpful hack: First, learn to hunt the right trees!

Now it should be noted that we are currently located in Central North Carolina; Therefore, I'm choosing these 5 trees to focus on based on what grows here in this specific region. Other trees to know and look for in higher elevations/colder climates of Eastern North America include Black Cherry, and Apple.

Beyond that? Here you'll find our video that shows a great checklist for all elements leading to morels!

  • American Elm - If you've ever looked into suggested tips for finding morel mushrooms, chances are you've already read about the Elm tree. The American Elm or Ulmus americana, can grow for hundreds of years to become beautiful towering specimens with a shape that tends to droop from the top like a fountain. Unfortunately, due to the Dutch Elm disease, many American elm trees don't ever have the chance to survive fore more than a few decades. With that said, it's best to become familiar with the characteristics of young elms to help spot them in the wild.

  • White Ash - I can say for a fact that these trees can lead you to morel mushrooms because the first 5 morels I found were under a mature/dying white ash tree in Oklahoma! These trees feature a compound leaf and white bark with a tight square pattern when young, forming a more ridge-like pattern with age. For a closer look at an ash tree watch our video here.

  • Tulip Poplar - These trees are easier to learn to identify thanks to their beautiful buds and unique leaf shape. The bark of the tulip poplar is a smokey whitish gray, typically with a crackle-shaped pattern.

  • Sycamore - The mighty sycamore is known for reaching towering heights and loving flood plains and waterways. You'll learn to recognize it by it's unique bark that peels in multicolored patches as you follow the trunk upwards, eventually dispersing into a very smooth bark typically gray to white to yellowish in hue.

  • Bitternut Hickory - Hickory trees can be identified most easily by their symmetrical compound leaf made up of large oblong leaves typically ending in a small point. Bitternut Hickory trees typically have more narrow leaves than other hickories, and these trees have a silvery-gray bark with tight and intricate vertical ridges.

And finally, here you can find a short video identifying some of the trees listed above. Any questions? Let us know!

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