Its not every day you find black morels in the suburbs of Melbourne and not every day you find them growing in newly-laid garden mulch – an environment often more suited to Morchella rufobrunnea.
I cannot take credit for this find – someone gave me the tip and I got there quick smart. Promised to only take a few for DNA, cloning attempts and one to taste (and it was very nice – smokey – the best morel I have tried by far).
This species and a few other collections have all come back with 20+ hits on BLASTn for Morchella importuna which makes its id pretty clear – as do the numerous ‘craters’ arranged in a ladder-like structure and the weird hairs inside its stipe were novel for morels I have seen.
Despite being a black morel it seems quite different to the more common Morchella australiana that are frequently found in granite and wild orchid country – although that species is quite variable macroscopically. A similar collection from the Yarra Ranges was sequenced and came back as 99% importuna with numerous hits which was interesting.