Mushrooms and Other Fungi
While there are many different species of mushrooms and fungi in Catoctin Mountain Park, it is the common morel (Morchella species) that is the most well known. The morel is highly sought after both by animals and humans who considered this mushroom a "choice edible". In the past, the common morel was abundant throughout the park, but this has since changed. Today morels are scarcely seen. Whether this is due to an environmental change, human harvesting, or a high deer population is not known. Visitors are permitted to collect mushrooms from the park for personal consumption only. It is highly recommended that while collecting mushrooms you transport them in a breathable, mesh bag (such as an onion bag) rather than a plastic or paper sack. This method allows mushroom spores to escape the bag and be distributed throughout the forest, ensuring that there will be morels for all in the future.
Be sure to use caution when collecting mushrooms. Some mushrooms are extremely poisonous and eating them could result in death. Know how to properly identify mushrooms before you set out, or go with a mushroom expert.
Did You Know?
Visitors in Catoctin Mountain Park may gather morel mushrooms for personal consumption. Morels are found in a variety of habitats but generally they seem to be found in wet soil that is high in organic matter and shaded by trees, especially hardwoods. Favorite locations are closely guarded secrets!