False Morel

Gyromitra esculenta

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By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

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False Morel Gyromitra esculenta (Pers.) Fr. (illustrated 70% life size) Cap 3–9cm across, irregularly lobed, extremely convoluted, brain-like; reddish-brown or darker. Stem 20–40×20–40mm; pale flesh-coloured; becoming hollow in chambers, faintly grooved. Spores 18–22×9–12¼, elliptical, containing 2 or more yellowish oil drops. Asci 325×18¼. Habitat with conifers, especially pine, usually on sandy soil; spring. Occasional. Deadly poisonous when raw, and harmful to many even when properly cooked. It is eaten in Eastern Europe after a process in which it is boiled, the water from boiling is discarded, and it is then cooked in fresh water, but in spite of this cases of poisoining are still recorded; evidence suggests the effect is cumulative, since poisoning may occur after eating it on more than one occasion, having suffered no ill effects after eating it the first time. Avoid.