Our first morel foray of 2018 hadn't looked too promising a week earlier. The March 31 date anticipated a faster than usual warmup, which the first three weeks of the month did their best to sabotage. But a string of seventy-degree afternoon highs prior to the event and wildflowers about a week ahead of those in Asheville kept hope alive for thirty-three club members and Morel the dog. We had perfect weather for the trip, chilly in the morning, warming by noon in plenty of welcome sunshine. Wildflowers included banks of Rue Anemone, Violets, Spring Beauty, Bloodroot, late Spice Bush blooms, Wild Geranium, and the first Trilliums.
Some of us did find morels, not a lot of them, and mostly tiny as is typical for this location. A variety of species came in, predominantly Morchella americana (Yellow Morel) but also a few blacks (M. angusticeps) and even a couple of half-decapitated half-free morels (M. punctipes). Unless someone was holding out, the biggest haul relatively speaking was the pictured collection from Brian Pritchett and Swapanthi Nagulpally. The Marks family, on their first try, did well too. Our new Sporadic News person, Susannah Zeveloff, spotted her first yellow morel and also the non-edible Psathyrella pseudovernalis, a species common in Cosby during morel season but seldom noted elsewhere. The only other fresh mushrooms in evidence were young examples of Peziza phyllogena, the Common Brown Cup. We did not see Dryad's Saddle, Cerioporus (Polyporus) squamosus. All in all, Cosby proved once again to be a good way to kick off the AMC foray season.