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Gyromitra esculenta (Pers. ) Fr.
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Gyromitra esculenta
© Copyright Malcolm Storey 2011-2118 · 3
Gyromitra esculenta

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Gyromitra esculenta
© Copyright Malcolm Storey 2011-2118 · 3
Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra esculenta
© Copyright Malcolm Storey 2011-2118 · 3
Gyromitra esculenta

Gyromitra esculenta
© Copyright Malcolm Storey 2011-2118 · 3
Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra esculenta
© Copyright Malcolm Storey 2011-2118 · 3
Gyromitra esculenta

Gyromitra esculenta
© Copyright Malcolm Storey 2011-2118 · 3
Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra esculenta
© Copyright Malcolm Storey 2011-2118 · 3
Gyromitra esculenta

Gyromitra esculenta
© Copyright Malcolm Storey 2011-2118 · 3
Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra esculenta
© Copyright Malcolm Storey 2011-2118 · 3
Gyromitra esculenta

Gyromitra esculenta
© Copyright Malcolm Storey 2011-2118 · 3
Gyromitra esculenta

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FamilyScientific name @ source (records)
Rosaceae  Pyrus malus @ BPI (2)
_  Substrate @ BPI (51)

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California Fungi—Gyromitra esculenta Gyromitra esculenta
(Photo: © Fred Stevens)

Gyromitra esculenta (Persoon: Fries) Fries
Summa Veg. Scand. II: 346. 1849.

Common Names: false morel, rain mushroom, beefsteak morel

Synonym: Helvella esculenta Fries

  • Pileus

    Cap 5-9 cm tall, 5-11 cm broad, semi-globose, brain-like, inconspicuously lobed; fertile surface convoluted to wrinkled, lobes separated by deep furrows; color: tan-brown, ochraceous-brown, deep reddish-brown; sterile undersurface of cap cream to buff-colored; margin attached to stipe at several points; context thin, brittle; odor and taste not distinctive.

  • Stipe

    Stipe 3-6 cm long, 1-3 cm thick, hollow, round to compressed, sometimes grooved or with basal folds; surface smooth to furfuraceous, whitish, often tinged vinaceous-tan.

  • Spores

    Spores 18-23 x 9-12 µm, ellipsoid, smooth, with two oil droplets; spores pale yellowish-buff in deposit.

  • Habitat

    Solitary, scattered to gregarious under conifers, occasionally under hardwoods; common in the Sierra, rare in coastal forests; fruiting from late winter to spring.

  • Edibility

    Toxic Potentially deadly, especially raw, but see comments.

  • Comments

    Commonly known as the Brain Mushroom because of its much wrinkled, typically reddish-brown cap, Gyromitra esculenta is one of the more distinctive members of the "False Morel" group. Nonetheless, it is sometimes confused with morels ( Morchella spp.) The latter are easily distinguished by their longitudinally ridged, pitted caps. Although the species name suggests edibility, Gyromitra esculenta is a questionable choice for the table as it contains monomethylhydrazine (MMH), a volatile toxin which in high doses can be fatal. Anecdotal evidence and preliminary tests by Duffy and Vergeer suggest that California material may not contain high levels of MMH, but caution is still advised. Although we cannot recommend eating this mushroom, it is commonly consumned in the Western United states. If you do try Gyromitra esculenta , it should always be cooked in a well ventilated area to avoid breathing any monomethylhydrazine that might be present and the cooking liquid should be discarded.

    Other California Gyromitras include: Gyromitra infula , Gyromitra montana , and Gyromitra californica . Gyromitra infula has a distinctive saddle-shaped cap, the surface of which is wavy to bumpy, but not wrinkled. Gyromitra montana (Snow Mushroom), until recently known locally as G. gigas , is largely a Sierran species. It is shorter, stockier than G. esculenta with a coarsely wrinkled cap only slightly broader than the stipe. Least likely to be encountered is another Sierran species, Gyromitra californica . A beautiful fungus, it has a broad, brown to olive-brown, wavy cap, the margin of which is usually free, and a fluted, cream-yellow, often tinged pinkish stipe.

  • References

    Abbott, S.O. & Currah, R.S. (1997). The Helvellaceae: Systematic revision and occurrence in northern and northwestern North America. Mycotaxon 62: 1-125.
    Ammirati, J.F., Traquair, J.A. & Horgen, P.A. (1985). Poisonous Mushrooms of the Northern United States and Canada. University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, MN. 396 p.
    Breitenbach, J. & Kränzlin, F. (1984). Fungi of Switzerland. Volume 1: Ascomycetes. Verlag Mykologia: Luzern, Switzerland. 310 p.
    Castellano, M.A., Cázares, E., Fondrick, B. & Dreisbach, T. (2003). Handbook to additional fungal species of special concern in the Northwest Forest Plan (Gen. Tech Rep. PNW-GTR-572). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: Portland, OR. 144 p. ( PDF )
    Desjardin, D.E., Wood, M.G. & Stevens, F.A. (2015). California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide. Timber Press: Portland, OR. 560 p.
    Duffy, T.J. (2008). Toxic Fungi of Western North America. MykoWeb .
    Siegel, N. & Schwarz, C. (2016). Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast. Ten Speed Press: Berkeley, CA. 601 p.
    Smith, A.H. (1949). Mushrooms in their Natural Habitats. Sawyer's Inc: Portland, OR. 626 p.
    Tylutki, E.E. (1979). Mushrooms of Idaho and the Pacific Northwest: Discomycetes. University of Idaho Press: Moscow, ID. 133 p.
    Weber, N.S. (1988). A Morel Hunter's companion. Two Penninsula Press: Lansing, MI. 288 p.

  • Other Descriptions and Photos Main Photo
    • Le Cercle des Mycologues de Montréal: Gyromitra esculenta (D & CP)
    • Pilze, Pilze, Pilze: Gyromitra esculenta (CP)
    • Arora (1986): p. 801 (D), p. 802 (P), plate 206 (CP)
    • Arora (1991): p. 234 (D & CP)
    • Jordan: p. 51 (D & CP)
    • Lincoff: p. 336 (D), plate 714 (CP)
    • McKenny: p. 202 (D), p. 203 (CP)
    • Miller: sp. 395 (D & CP)
    • Orr & Orr: p. 34 (D), plate 6 (CP)
    • Phillips: p.302 (CP), p. 303 (D)
    • Smith (1975): sp. 15 (D & CP)
    • Smith & Weber: sp. 21 (D & CP)
    • Tylutki (1979): p. 70 (D & P)
    • Weber: p. 145 (D & CP)

    (D=Description; I=Illustration; P=Photo; CP=Color Photo)

The Fungi of California
Copyright © 1999-2016 Michael Wood & Fred Stevens
A MykoWeb Page

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http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=dl&where-taxon=Gyromitra+esculenta&where-lifeform=specimen_tag&rel-lifeform=ne&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-lifeform=Fungi ---> https://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=dl&where-taxon=Gyromitra+esculenta&where-lifeform=specimen_tag&rel-lifeform=ne&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-lifeform=Fungi

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Number of matches : 8
Query: SELECT * FROM img WHERE ready=1 and taxon like "Gyromitra esculenta%" and (lifeform != "specimen_tag" OR lifeform != "Fungi") ORDER BY taxon

Click on the thumbnail to see an enlargement

Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra esculenta
False Morel
ID: 9187 3302 4604 0006 [detail]
Dr. Robert Thomas and Dorothy B. Orr
© 2001 California Academy of Sciences

Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra esculenta
False Morel
ID: 9187 3302 4604 0007 [detail]
Dr. Robert Thomas and Dorothy B. Orr
© 2001 California Academy of Sciences

Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra esculenta
False Morel
ID: 0000 0000 0109 0214 [detail]
2009 Bill Moses

Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra esculenta
False Morel
ID: 0000 0000 0610 2446 [detail]
© 2010 Ron Wolf

Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra esculenta
False Morel
ID: 0000 0000 0310 1106 [detail]
© 2010 Maciej Bonk

Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra esculenta
False Morel
ID: 0000 0000 0610 2447 [detail]
© 2010 Ron Wolf

Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra esculenta
False Morel
ID: 0000 0000 0511 0014 [detail]
© 2011 Barry Breckling

Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra esculenta
False Morel
ID: 0000 0000 0711 1653 [detail]
© 2011 Ron Wolf

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