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).
Clearly its a black morel species somewhere near Morchella elata although its smaller way more 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.
John Ford is in the process of attempting to clones one of these specimens and the rest are being sent for DNA extraction and sequencing. Results will be posted when they are in.
Ill post the DNA results and let you know if the clones take!