Yellow Morel

(Morchella americana)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed


not listed


not listed

Yellow Morel

Yellow Morel, also called White Morel and American Blond Morel, is a common, easily recognized mushroom. Morels are one of the “Foolproof Four”, the four most easily identified mushrooms. It is found growing alone, scattered, or clustered on the ground under hardwoods, often poking through leaf litter.

The cap is hollow; usually egg-shaped with a blunt, cone-shaped tip; 1¼ to 4¼ long; and ¾ to 2 wide. Sometimes it is round, cone-shaped, or irregular in shape. It is deeply pitted with irregularly shaped and randomly oriented pits. The edges of the pits are broadly angled, not sharp. The overall color of the cap is yellowish-brown. When young the cap is shallowly pitted, the ridges are yellow or whitish, and the pits are grayish-brown or dark brown. When mature the cap is deeply pitted and the ridges are the same color or slightly paler than the pits. The ridges do not darken or turn black with age. The margin of the cap is attached directly to the stalk but it is often creased at that point and may appear unattached.

The stalk is usually to 2 long, and to 1thick, usually shorter than the cap. In favorable conditions it may get much longer with age. It is hollow; whitish, pale yellowish-brown, or tan; and usually granular.


Similar Species

False Morel (Gyromitra esculenta) surface is folded, not pitted. The cap is not completely fused to the stalk. The stalk is not hollow. It is poisonous.

Habitat and Hosts

A wide variety of habitats, but especially in deciduous forests under a hardwood tree.





Distribution Map



4, 7, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.






Fungi (fungi)




Ascomycota (sac fungi)










Morchellaceae (morels and allies)


Morchella (true morels)


Morchella (esculenta clade)


Recent molecular phylogenetic analyses of the genus Morchella showed that with two exceptions, the species endemic to Europe are restricted to Europe, and the names applied to those species could not be applied to North American morels. The two exceptions occur in both in Europe and Asia, but not in North America.

This species was formerly knows as Morchella esculenta, a species common in both Europe and the United States. A recent taxonomic revision of Morchella in North America (Kuo et al., 2012) renamed the North American morels previously known as M. esculenta as M. esculentoides.

A later molecular phylogenetic analysis of the true morels of North America (Richard et al., 2015) showed Morchella esculentoides to be s synonym of Morchella americana. The most common Esculenta Clade
yellow morel in North America is now Morchella americana.


Subordinate Taxa



Morchella americana var. americana

Morchella americana var. elongata

Morchella californica

Morchella claviformis

Morchella esculentoides

Morchella populina


Common Names

American Blond Morel

American Yellow Morel

Blond Morel

Common Morel


White Morel

Yellow Morel


Following the separation of the North American true morels from those of Europe, several new common names have been adopted for the most common North American yellow morel, including American Blond Morel and American Yellow Morel. The name White Morel is used by iNaturalist, but it has not been widely adopted. Most sources retained the common name Yellow Morel. The name Gray Morel was misapplied to morels with gray caps and nearly black pits, but these are immature Yellow Morels.









State mushroom

Yellow Morel is the state mushroom of Minnesota.





Where to look

Morel hunters are notoriously loath to part with information about the location of morels, and will often give disinformation to those who ask. This is a tradition among morel hunters. Most print and online sources agree, however, that morels are often found at the base of elm trees that are either dead or are infected with Dutch elm disease and are dying.







Visitor Photos

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Yellow Morel   Yellow Morel
Yellow Morel  

Yellow Morel

Bill Reynolds

Yellow Morel  

Yellow Morel Photos
Yellow Morel   Yellow Morel
Yellow Morel   Yellow Morel




Morchella esculentoides (Yellow Morel)
Allen Chartier

Morchella esculentoides (Yellow Morel)



Visitor Videos

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Other Videos

Morchella esculentoides The White Morel
Jack Skrceny


Uploaded on Mar 28, 2007

A quick look at Morchella esculentoides. One of Michigan's spring time fungi. In Michigan, I think there are more morel pickers than deer hunters !

The Mushroom Whisperer's
Jack Skrceny


Uploaded on May 11, 2009

Morchella esculentoides and Morchella Semilibera hunting May 10, 2009. A beautiful and productive day to be in the woods !!

Morel Mushroom (Ascomycetes: Morchella esculentoides)
Carl Barrentine


Published on Jun 11, 2013

A mycological treat for epicurean foodies, a 20 cm Yellow Morel (Morchella esculentoides)! Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (11 June 2013).

Morel mushrooms Morchella esculentoides


Published on May 11, 2012

How to identify and find morels!



Visitor Sightings

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Location: St. Cloud, MN

Yellow Morel
Bill Reynolds

Location: Pennington Co Minnesota

I just check this area yesterday and not a sign.  Today, a couple of Morels freshly popping up.

Yes, that is Poison Ivy

Yellow Morel Sightings





Created: 5/27/2014

Last Updated:

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