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Morel Mushrooms in Rhode Island | Complete Guide & Map

Rhode is a small New England state with a surprising diversity of landscapes. Between the wooded areas, vast coastline, wetlands, and volatile temperatures, Morel Mushroom hunters have a lot to think about when foraging in RI. This may all sound a bit daunting, but don't worry, this guide will explain everything you need to know about finding Morel Mushrooms in RI.


"Give someone a morel and they can eat for a day. Teach them to hunt morels and they can feast for a lifetime"


Quick Answers

  • Are There Morel Mushrooms in Rhode Island?

  • What Types of Morel Mushrooms Grow in Rhode Island?

  • Are There False Morels & Lookalikes in Rhode Island?

  • When does the Rhode Island Morel Season Start?

  • How To Find Morels in Rhode Island

  • Morel Mushroom Hunting Laws & Regulations in Rhode Island

  • Where to Buy Morel Mushrooms in Rhode Island


MORELS IN RHODE ISLAND COVER IMAGE

Need to locate Morels immediately? Check out the Rhode Island Morel Mushroom Map! Simply zoom into RI or search your specific town.

1. Are there Morel Mushrooms in Rhode Island?

Yes! Morel Mushrooms do grow in the state of Rhode Island. Not only are there Morels in Rhode Island, but they fruit in almost every region of the state. The only areas void of morels are areas that have been ravaged by human development, like downtown Providence. From the north, south, east, and west of the state, there is the potential to find Morel Mushrooms! What a privilege! If you do find some, make sure to bring a mesh foraging bag to allow morel spores to be released. You'll also need a knife & brush to harvest your mushrooms. This product on amazon has both a bag and tool!


Morel in Rhode Island

2. What Types of Morels Grow in Rhode Island?

When speaking of the "Morel Mushroom" many people have the impression that there is just one type that is edible. This is not the case. In Rhode Island, there are 4 types of popular edible morels, as well as a few dangerous lookalike species. Note: Gray Morels are just juvenile Yellows or Blacks, so they aren't really their own species, but we'll include them anyway..


Edible Morels in RI

  1. Black Morels

  2. Gray Morels

  3. Yellow Morels (Most common)

  4. Half-Free Morels

Reference: Mushrooms of the Northeast Field Guide


Keep in mind that not all of these morels fruit at the exact same time in Rhode Island, or elsewhere. Gray comes first, then black, half-free, and yellow. Don't go out expecting to find them all at once.


MOREL TYPES IN RI

3. Are There False Morels and Lookalikes in Rhode Island?

This is an important question, especially for beginners. The answer is yes, there are false morels and lookalike species in Rhode Island. They look almost identical to true morel mushrooms, but can cause severe gastronomical distress or be horribly toxic if ingested. For that reason, you must be aware of what to look out for.


Lookalike Species: Verpa Bohemica & Verpa Conica (DO NOT EAT).

How can you tell if you found these in Rhode Island? Well, both Verpas have their cap attached to the stem only at the top, with the sides hanging completely free from the stem. When these are split open, you will see a cottony material inside, whereas true morels are 100% hollow and empty.


Verpa Morel Lookalikes in RI
Notice the cap in the front mushroom - Hanging free from stem. True morels are completely attached (besides half-free morels)

False Morel Species: Gyromitra Esculenta & Other Gyomitra (DO NOT EAT).

There are a few Gyromitra species that fruit around the same time as true morels in RI. These can be easily detected by noticing that they have wrinkles and folds rather than pits and ridges. Also, when cut open, these false morels are not hollow at all. Inspect every morel to make sure that it will not harm you when ingested.


False Morel in RI
Notice the wrinkles and lack of pits

4. When Does the Rhode Island Morel Season Start?

Morel mushroom seasons occur in the spring, when frosts are on decline and temps are on the rise. Generally, the season begins about a week after the last frost, when temps start hitting the 60's. To really pinpoint a date, you have to put on your meteorology hat and look for temperature projections. We like to look at this longterm weather forecasting tool on Almanac.com. Though it is not perfect, its a great resource for when the spring is approaching. Temperature is a known factor in determining when a Morel species will start fruiting in Rhode Island, so this section should be paid extra attention.



Morels are deceptive and predicting when they fruit can really tough, even for the world's best mycologists. Rather than dates, it's best to look at temperatures. Generally, this is how temperatures work in association with each Morel type in RI:


These numbers are based off of prior data & ultimately estimated based on our experience in the field.

  • Black Morel: Consistent days of 58-65 may trigger fruiting

  • Half-Free Morel: Consistent days of 61-67 may trigger fruiting

  • Gray Morel: Consistent days of 58-64 may trigger fruiting

  • Yellow Morel: Consistent days of 69-77 may trigger fruiting

  • Verpas & False Morels: Follow a different life cycle may be present the duration of morel season.


This all sounds pretty overwhelming. Luckily, we've equipped our Morel Mushroom Map with data about temperatures during finds. Simply find your location, click a tag, and you can see what the temperature was in this location when the specific morel fruited. If you see that a Black Morel fruited in your town when temps were 63, you can use that as a starting point to estimate the start of the season!


Morel Mushroom Map Rhode Island

5. How To Find Morels in Rhode Island

Ahh, what a loaded question. Morels have evaded the understanding of scientists for so long because there are so many ecological factors contributing to their growth. However, through 100+ years of an American Morel Hunting tradition, some clearcut patterns have been uncovered. There are also some full-proof methods to finding morels like using Morel Mushroom Maps or signing up for guides tours and classes. Let's get more specific...


Tips to Finding Morels In the Wild By Yourself (Or in a non-guided group)

  • Look near leaf litter, pine needles, and areas with a lot of decomposing matter. Morels use that as their food source.

  • Look for areas exposed to slightly more heat than others, or visa versa. If the temps are in the lower range, an area with direct sunlight and warmth my be primed for fruiting. If temps are too high, look for shaded areas

  • Once you find one, it is likely that more morels are nearby

  • Cover a lot of ground: In covering a lot of ground while applying other techniques, you increase your likelihood of a find.

  • Go to areas where you know Morels have fruited in the past. Morels spread spores (like mushroom seeds) via the wind and so areas with previous morels may ultimately be prime breeding grounds for new morels. The Morel Mushroom Map is perfect for seeing previous fruiting locations.

  • Look in woods and near dead and dying trees with a lot of droppings (shedded bark, dropping fruits, leaf litter, fallen branches, etc)

  • Be persistent: The best Morel Mushroom hunters do not give up easily. Some of the largest finds of my life occurred when thinking I was out of luck. Keep looking and you will find them if you follow the seasonal tips and patterns.

  • Go with multiple people. Whats better than one pair of eyes? Many pairs of eyes! Even though this sounds simple, going with friends has earned me innumerable morels I would not have found otherwise.


Morel in RI
Morel growing from leaf litter near a heavily wooded area.

6. Morel Hunting Regulations and Laws in Rhode Island

Sorry Rhode Islanders, but your government is a bit drab when it comes to mushrooms. In Rhode Island, you are not allowed to forage for morel mushrooms on public lands. This applies to all mushrooms and plants too. However, private lands like owned woodlands are fair game with permission from the owner.


Don't get the wrong idea...You can still forage for Morels in RI, but you need to be very careful about where as not to break any laws. Always call your local government to clarify your questions.


Bills have been proposed to change these laws and allow the foraging of mushrooms in RI, and we'll update this page if that ever happens.


Would You Support A Legalization of Mushroom Foraging With Permits in RI?

  • Yes

  • No


While there are no laws on private lands, we ask on behalf of MorelMushroom.com, to please be a good steward. Treat the land well, and do not ruin natural areas for years to come. Otherwise, the tradition of Morel Hunting will fade and we'll lose the nature we love so dearly. To ensure that you do not the harm morel species in your area, we recommend using a mesh bag for collection, so spores can escape and germinate. If you use plastic, you are essentially killing off future morels in that area by blocking the spread of their spores.



7. Where To Buy Morels in RI

Morel Mushrooms are scarce in RI due to the foraging restrictions. However, they can be found for sale at farmers markets, local food stands, and specialty health stores during the spring and early summer. For more information on buying morels during the off-season, check out this guide.


Morel Mushrooms are bountiful in Rhode Island, but pinpointing the seasons, understanding risks, and knowing how to find morels is a great undertaking. It is our hope that through this guide, you feel more educated and equipped with resources to improve your Morel hunting ability, or simply to get you started. If you want to help out the Rhode Island Morel Mushroom community, feel free to share your finds.


Though the information is very similar, check out the guides for Morel Mushrooms in Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut!


Affiliate Disclosure: We make commissions on affiliate links in this article. However, we'll only provide links to products that we feel increase the value of the article and help you forage for morel Mushrooms.

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