Landracing Morel Mushroom (Morchella esculenta x Other Morchella spp.)

One way To collect spores is basically just lay the mushroom on a piece of paper with a cup over it over night. By morning the mushroom should have dropped spores onto the paper in what’s referred to as a spore print. You would then take segments of this spore print and add it to a perro dish of agar to grow out the spores into living cultures.

There are other more sophisticated methods but this is one that anyone can try. Spore prints are also helpful to properly identify many mushrooms.

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Could I do that with grocery store mushrooms? Or do they no longer have spores available to do that with?

Would it be possible to simply stick the spore print in a pile of wood chips? I don’t have agar available, but I have piles of wood chips.

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You should be able to with store bought mushrooms. Depending on how old they are they might have dropped the majority of their spores but there are usually some left behind.

Just sticking a spore print in a pile of wood chips would be a very low possibility of success effort, it might work mushrooms defy norms at times. The reasons why it might not work are 1)competition with other organisms 2)type of wood needs to match type of mushroom 3) moisture issues 4) grows but never wants to fruit 5) predators eat it-bugs 6) mushroom doesn’t like it for random reasons that only make sense to mushrooms

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Fungi in general have a lot more sexes than simply male and female, 36,000 sexes at last estimate I had read about. There is extreme diversity in mycelium as each spore grows its hyphae and then meets and then fuses with compatible hyphae from other spores. Usually for some of the species you can visually see with the naked eye extremely strong and vigorous crosses growing out of the hyphae mats as sectors with large thick ropey looking mycelium. With fungi it is the keeping of a desired strain over time that’s the actual work. Usually this involves agar filled slant tubes with an isolated small cut fragment of the desired mycelium and then placed under refrigeration. Building a strain library, if you will.

Cleaning up a wild strain from contaminants usually involves learning the preferred growth medium and then racing a cut piece of contaminated mycelium across one end of preferred medium to the other. The mycelium usually out paces the contaminants and cutting off the tip of the mycelium at the other side usually results in only pure mycelium which can be placed into the library.

Good fun if you like to go a bit deeper into learning sterile tissue culture at home with home built tools and supplies.

Morels isn’t the best first timer mushroom to try your hand at, it’s one of the most difficult or advanced. Oyster mushrooms make the best beginners mushrooms to learn with. You can get a bale of straw at most rural farm and feed stores to grow them out on once you learn how to process the straw.

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Many store bought mushrooms will have mycelium attached at the base of the mushroom. Cut it off and layer it in a mixture of cardboard and spent coffee grounds. Keep it moist, dark and cool. Not all mushrooms will grow with this method, but you would be surprised at how many do - even without sterilization.

Spores are collected by cutting the top off of a mushroom, setting it on a piece of paper, and covering with a lid.

A person can get really technical, but it is also possible to get good results with primitive techniques. It mostly depends on the mushroom and environment. Little behaviors like watering your plants with the same water that rinsed off the mushrooms that were bought at the store can give positive results. Another good technique is to hang mushrooms in a set of pantyhose from a tree, the spores will blow in the wind.


The most primitive method I know is a spore innoculation slurry. Toss a bunch of fresh and expanded mushroom tops into a blender. Add water. Blend. Pour all over your yard if you have something the mushroom wants to grow on in your yard already. If not ammend, build a bed, etc. then pour on the slurry.

The slurry will be chopped mycelium and spores in suspension.

Going back to sterile technique the best source of cloning material is actually from the cap as it’s not been in the ground or growing medium with competitors. I normally slice off the top and excise a small square with a freshly sterilized scalpel and transfer the small square of mycelium tissue to a nutrient added agar medium to grow out. If it’s clean and no contamination growing in the agar transfer to a slant tube if wanting to store it away until you have time to work it on it.


Since Morchella to the best of our knowledge seems to be a mycorrhizal species, I would look to other sources than the most common ones. Oyster mushroom and other commonly grown fungi can be cultivated more easily because they are saprophytic (breaking down dead wood) and providing them with the right growing medium is straight forward. Mycorrhizal species need a specific symbiotic relationship present.

Some people seem to make progress with Morel these years. The Danish Morel Project is one example. I believe they grow the fungi with certain grass species. It’s interesting because I thought this species needed to have a tree partner (around here usually elm). There’s so much trade secrecy around this though: Captcha

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