Morels in Illinois

Spring has come to Illinois, and with it the seasonal rebirth of the natural landscape around us. As the forest floor springs to life, many people take to the timber in search of one of our most delicious natural edibles, the morel mushroom. When you have the right tools to find them, the search can be an exciting and rewarding day spent outdoors with your family and friends.

If you have ever gone in search of these little treasures, you know that they aren’t always the easiest fungi to spot, but they are well worth the effort. Here are just a few tips to help you locate likely hunting grounds, and with any luck, the mushrooms you are searching for.

Morels in Illinois• Early in the season, look on south facing slopes with good exposure to the sun. The soil in these locations will warm first, allowing the mushrooms to begin to fruit. As the season progresses, move farther into the forest. Sandy soil and near dry creeks are good places to look.

• Morels like very specific trees to grow near. Try spotting them around oaks, hickory, maple, ash, elm and apple trees. While they can be found in a variety of places, you’ll have the best luck around elm and ash.

• Once you have found a mushroom, SLOW DOWN. Take a long look around you, where you find one, there will often be more.

• Use a mesh bag to carry your mushrooms in; it will allow debris and small bugs to fall out while keeping your find secure.

You may also want to purchase a field guide to mushrooms. While morels and other species are delicious, many others can be poisonous, and a few, deadly. Always know what you are picking.

The most important things is to you have fun! While difficult to find, these mushrooms are a tasty treat, and once you learn the basics, it’s a wonderful spring hobby. So get a bag and a couple of hiking buddies, and go find some mushrooms!

Learn more:
10 Tips for a Successful Morel Mushroom Hunt
A Beginner's Guide to Hunting Morel Mushrooms
Morel Mushroom Hunting Tips: Increase Your Yield!
Ten Easy Morel Recipes