James Wassom

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Like all mushrooms, the morel mushroom is a fungus. Morels are the fruiting bodies produced by members of the genus, Morchella, Morels are often considered to be a class with truffles by mushroom hunters. Unlike other mushrooms, the morel is not toadstool shaped, but looks like a sponge on a stalk, this makes it easy to identify. There are no poisonous mushrooms that resemble morels. Morels are widely distributed. Morels are known to occur in North America, Europe, and Israel. They are found in a wide variety of topographies, from mountains to plains. They can be found on grasslands, orchards, and forests. The time of fruiting is almost always in the spring. Morels have also been found in the summer and fall, but this is rare. Fruiting of Morchella is unpredictable. Sporocarps may be found in large numbers one year and not reappear in the same area for many years. In spite of widespread popularity, Morchella has never been grown to the sporocarp stage in pure culture. Like other mushrooms, morels are sources of proteins and B-vitamins. The purpose of this study has been to gather information on the physiology of Morchella. The response to various nutritional factors was evaluated in terms of amount of growth, and morphogenetic responses. It was hoped that by varying different factors of the medium, it would be possible to find the factors leading to sporocarp formation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings


Plant tissue culture



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University