False Morel Education

Gyromitra

Gyromitra Genus

Scientific names
  • Gyromitra esculentaWiki
  • Gyromitra gigasWiki
  • Gyromitra infulaWiki
  • Gyromitra carolinianaWiki
Common names
  • Beefsteak
  • Calf Brains
  • Brain Mushroom
  • Red Morel
  • Snow Morel
  • Snowbank
  • Elephant Ears

Gyromitra

The Gyromitra genus contains about 18 species found in the northern hemisphere, across North America and Europe.

Images

Toxicity

Toxic mushroom!

Toxic! DO NOT EAT!

Gyromitra species contain a chemical called Gyromitrin.Wiki

  • Gyromitrin is not destroyed by heat.
  • Gyromitrin is metabolized by the body into Monomethylhydrazine (MMH), a chemical used in rocket fuel.
  • Gyromitrin and MMH are known carcinogens in small mammals.
  • Gyromitrin interferes with the normal use and function of vitamin B6.
  • Gyromitrin injestion can result in nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, convulsions, jaundice, coma, and death.
  • Gyromitrin and/or MMH accumulates in your body over time.

Be safe. Don't feed to children!

Myths and Facts

Gyromitra are safe to eat if you prepare them correctly.
False

Even after boiling, an unknown amount of gyromitrin will remain in the mushroom. Due to the accumulation of toxins, consumption is not recommended.

People in Europe eat these mushrooms regularly.
True, but less than in the past

Traditionally, people from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain have consumed this mushroom, and they still do in some countries. Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Sweden have banned the sale of Gyromitra mushrooms. Finland allows the sale, but requires by law that literature be provided with each sale saying that the mushrooms are poisonous.

I've been eating these for years with no issues.
True/False

Some people eat Gyromitra for years and do not suffer any immediate issues after consumption. Toxicity levels vary widely from mushroom to mushroom. Raw Gyromitra may be lethal in as little as 6.4 ounces of fresh mushroom.

The accumulation of the toxic and carcinogenic chemicals in the body may cause health issues down the road that may not correspond to recent Gyromitra consumption.

True Morels

True morels of the MorchellaWiki genus are a highly prized delicacy. These are the mushrooms you're looking for.

Morchella