Honeycombed cap with black to brownish black ridges and yellowish brown pits; completely hollow. April and early May. Cap elongate and conical, with vertically elongated ridges and pits; ridges are black to brownish black, pits are yellowish brown; texture deeply pitted; hollow; bottom of cap is fused to the stalk. Stalk sometimes enlarged at the base; whitish; texture granular; hollow. Spore print white to cream. Spores magnified are elliptical, smooth. Spores are located inside the pits.
Lookalikes: The poisonous false morels (Gyromitra brunnea and G. caroliniana) are reddish and have wrinkled, lobed, or brain-shaped caps and dense (not hollow) stalks. The bottom half of the cap of the half-free morel (Morchella punctipes) hangs free from the stalk. The cap of the yellow morel (Morchella esculentoides) has yellow to yellow-brown ridges and is more oval. All of Missouri's true morels are completely hollow.
Habitat and Conservation
Mushrooms are a lot like plants, but they lack chlorophyll and have to take nutrients from other materials. Mushrooms are neither plants nor animals. They are in a different kingdom — the fungi. Fungi include the familiar mushroom-forming species, plus the yeasts, molds, smuts, and rusts.
Always be cautious when eating edible mushrooms. Be absolutely sure of the ID, and only eat a small amount the first time you try it to avoid a reaction..