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Morel lookalike?


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I've never in-person seen either morels, or the lookalike with rocket fuel compounds.

But we found this on the path today where someone left it, and I wondered if it might be the lookalike.

Very crisp texture, pleasant mushroom aroma -- I think the stem is hollow although it was folded closed -- velvety surface along the cap's pleats and folds, which have a nice mahogany color. What do you think?

 

MUSH2.JPG

MUSH1.JPG

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Looks like one of the species in the Gyromitra esculenta group. Ironically, the name "esculenta" means edible. But G. esculenta mushrooms contain a potentially lethal toxin. It is believed this toxin mostly evaporates when the Gyromitra mushroom is cooked, and in some European countries they are traditionally consumed. However, another consideration is that even at reduced concentration the toxin gyromitrin may accumulate within one's body and then function as a carcinogen. 

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Be careful about sniffing Gyromitra (to assess odor). The toxin it contains is volatile, and it may possibly evaporate fairly quickly. There's an old unverified story (from Russia? Finland?) about a woman who was boiling a potful of G. esculenta and inhaled the fumes from the pot. She supposedly died soon thereafter. I don't know if this actually ever happened, but given the nature of gyromitrin it's believable. 

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