An expert is predicting a fruitful season for morel mushroom hunting in Missouri due to this spring's rains and gradual warming.

Ron Cook tracks the wild mushrooms as they surface across the state. He posts a map on his Missouri Morel Hunting Facebook page for his thousands of followers, noting confirmed sites where morel hunters have found the delicacies.

Cook tells the Springfield News-Leader that the weather this spring is creating "ideal conditions" for morels to sprout.

Cook says newcomers might have trouble spotting their first morel since they grow out of soil in a unique shape. Cook describes morels as looking similar to a webbed Christmas tree.

The Missouri Department of Conservation encourages morel hunting and provides a guide to help hunters differentiate between edible and poisonous mushrooms.

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