Hunting Michigan Morels? Science Says: Follow the Lightning
It's about that time again. Morel mushroom hunting season. And yes, even though a lot of things are off limits due to the coronavirus pandemic - you can go mushroom hunting in Michigan. In fact, according to WWMT.com, the Michigan DNR says morel hunting is good social distancing practice. And if you've ever hunted morels, you know the best place to look is where there's been a fire in the woods. Now, we may know why.
According to a 2010 article from phys.org, Japanese farm folklore says a lightning strike makes mushrooms multiply. Obviously not a direct hit, but a close one. And what causes wildfires? Many times it's lightning strikes, amiright?
Scientists in Japan experimented to see what effect short bursts of high voltage electricity would have on mushrooms. Turns out - most of the species of mushrooms they tested increased their crop - some by double. (I don't know if they tested morels, but it looks like a lot of species reacted the same way, so...) They don't know why this happens, but one theory is that it's a reaction to danger and a tactic to insure survival by increasing reproduction.
So, when you're out hunting for morels, check in areas with trees that have been hit by lightning. Or, I guess you could hook a car battery up to an old log and wait.