Black Morel - Morchella elata


Cap 3-5cm wide x 5-8cm tall.  Stem 1-3cm wide x 4-6cm tall.  Overall the size can range from 8 to 15 cm tall with the cap forming 1/2 to 2/3 of the total height. The surface colour varies from dark brown to dark grey, sometimes almost black. The hollow conical or egg-shaped cap of this popular edible species is deeply pitted, rather like an irregular honeycomb. Within the pits the surface varies from pale brown to grey and darkens with age. The vertical ridges are continuous and for the most part fairly well aligned, while the more randomly spaced horizontal ridges that run between pairs of vertical ridges are noticeably narrower. The stem is smooth at the top but usually grooved near the base and has just one hollow chamber.

Identification difficulty

An uncommon species that is becoming increasingly reported on imported woodchips in domestic gardens.

When to see it

March to May.

Life History

Often fruits in groups and sometimes in very large numbers where it is found.

UK Status

This species was formerly regarded as rare on the Continent and absent in the UK but over the past twenty years or so it has been increasingly recorded on imported woodchips used as a mulch in woodlands and particularly in parks and gardens.

VC55 Status

Unknown until a few years ago when reports began from private gardens, always on a woodchip mulch.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map