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Gyromitra korfii
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Gyromitra korfii

 

Common Name: False Morel, Beefsteak

Synonyms: Gyromitra gigas

Substrate: Ground

Location: Hardwood Forests

Comments: 

One of the "false morels," this mushroom usually starts appearing slightly before or near the time the first morels come up. These mushrooms should be considered poisonous, as they contain monomethylhydrazine, a component of rocket fuel, that has been shown to be carcinogenic. There are reports of people eating these their whole lives with no ill effects, but there are also reports of people being hospitalized just from the fumes emitted while cooking them. While the amounts of the hazardous chemical likely vary with different populations, this mushroom should not be eaten.

The way to tell these mushrooms from true morels, is that morels have "pits and ridges," while Gyromitras and other false morels have "brain-like folds." Morels are also completely hollow when cut open. Gyromitras are not.

Associates: Tulip Poplar, Ash, Dogwood (More will be added with additional finds.)

Lookalikes: 

Gyromitra brunnea is very similar. It is generally more lobed than this species. It can be most easily distinguished with a microscope by having wider, spores (13+ microns), while G. korfii is narrower (11-13 microns), has knobs on the end, and has one large oil droplet in the center, with one smaller one on each end.  Look at G. brunnea here

Pictures:

Gyromitra korfii

3/22/12 - Hoosier National Forest - Lawrence Co., IN

Gyromitra korfii

Gyromitra korfii

Gyromitra korfii

3/27/13 - Orange County, IN

Gyromitra korfii

3/30/13 - Orange County, IN

Gyromitra korfii

3/13/12 - Fairfax SRA - Monroe Co. IN