Monday, April 25, 2011

Cool Videos: Morels and Spore Puffing

Have you ever placed your morels out to dry only to come back and find that the spores were dispersed everywhere and not just what you would expect from a mere spore print. I once laid some out on old dehydrators trays and hung them in a hot room only to come back and find the entire room covered from the walls to the floor.

Mushrooms in the Ascomycetes hold their spores in asci. For morels each one holds eight spores. They have a very unique ability to coordinate the ejection of all spores at once. If you witness this it can be seen as a cloud. Michael Kuo describes this in his book Morels.

No one knows what triggers it but some suggest it could be light, heat, or a sudden breeze.
Although not morels, check out this very cool video that Mycologista took of the Devils Urn actually doing this spore "huffing" or "puffing."

[Sorry folks, I got ahead of myself and posted the original video without getting permission. Lesson learned from me. The cool photage has been temporarily removed while Mycologista does a special article on the phenomenon for Mushroom the Journal and her own blog. I will put it back up as soon as it ready for full release. For those of you who saw it, you got a super special sneak peak].

What is also great about this video is that if you turn up your volume the mushrooms actually hiss when they "puff." Makes you wonder if this plays into why it was called the devil's urn. I mean a hissing mushroom is eerily otherworldly.

In the meantime, here is a similar video.

Although the video is sideways and I am not sure that these are Devil's urns, they are a cup fungi and all cup fungi are Ascomycetes. Though they don't hiss like the video that Mycologista has. I can't wait to put it back up.

And last but not least here are morels doing the same thing. Check out the clouds of spores blowing off the morels in this tray. It is much more of a slow release.


Anonymous said...

That is an impressive video, one more thing to learn about a morel.

Scott said...

I was always under the impression from everything I've heard and read the morels had released their spores even prior to me picking them. :) So I should let them sit on back deck to spore my backyard?

ahistory said...

Well, I am no expert and I am not saying that this puffing is the only way or time that they release their spores. I think it is something they do later in the season when they mature to ensure better sporing.

You could leave them on your back deck to do that but then you risk them getting stolen by birds, squirrels and other pests (passerbys). Since the spores also travel by water, one way I know people to spread spores is by using their "morel water." That's the water left over after soaking them to clean. Now I do not recommend soaking them to clean them but that is just my preference. However, if you do use this method then be sure to pour that water by a likely tree and see if anything will come up. I have know a few people who after doing this for several years did see some morels grow in those spots (this is rare but it does happen).

Karli-Rae said...

I've so jealous! None in Kirksville yet so far...

ahistory said...

Sorry to hear that Karli we were picking nice ones over north of St Joe on Sunday which is about the same latitude as you so I figured they would already be up in your neck of the woods.
Might need to check other spots. They seem to be showing up in odd places this year. I know many people who are picking them in fields out of Johnson grass in some places. Keep at it and you're bound to find a few.