The following points highlight the fourteen salient features of morchella.
1. Morchella is a saprobic discomycete. The mycelium is inconspicuous and underground. It consists of a mass of loosely interwoven septate hyphae. The cells are multinucleate.
2. The so-called morels (guchhi) are the aerial fructifications or ascocarps of the fungus.
3. The mature ascocarp varies in height from 25 to 100 or 125 mm and is differentiated into a thick fleshy, hollow stipe surmounted by a conical cap called the pileus.
4. The pileus has a pitted surface. The pits or the depressions are lined by a fertile layer consisting of the asci and paraphyses.
5. Asexual reproduction by spores (conidia) is lacking.
6. No sex organs are developed. The sexual process is extremely simplified. It consists of plasmogamy and karyogamy. The latter is immediately followed by meiosis.
7. Plasmogamy in some species is accomplished by somatogamous copulation between the cells of two somatic hyphae or in some by autogamous pairing.
8. Ascogenous hyphae arise from the fusion cell containing the dikaryon and become septate.
9. The asci are developed from the terminal binucleate cells of the ascogenous hyphae which directly function as ascus mother cells. The two nuclei in the ascus mother cell are the derivatives of the parent dikaryon.
10. No hook formation takes place in Morchella.
11. Karyogamy takes place in the ascus mother cell. The young ascus contains the synkaryon.
12. The young ascus grows in size and the synkaryon undergoes meiosis. The haploid nuclei divide mitotically to form 8 nuclei which are subsequently organised into meiospores known as the ascospores. They are multinucleate. They are multinucleate when mature.
13. Each ascus dehisces by the separation of its apex as a lid. The ascospores are thus liberated.
14. Each ascospore under suitable conditions germinates by a germ tube to form a new mycelium.