Definitions for false morel
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a fungus of the family Helvellaceae
Any of several Ascomycota mushrooms in the genus Gyromitra which bear a resemblance to the highly regarded true morels of the genus Morchella.
Gyromitra esculenta, one of several species of fungi known as false morels, is an ascomycete fungus from the genus Gyromitra, widely distributed across Europe and North America. It normally sprouts in sandy soils under coniferous trees in spring and early summer. The fruiting body, or mushroom, is an irregular brain-shaped cap dark brown in colour which can reach 10 cm high and 15 cm wide, perched on a stout white stipe up to 6 cm high. Although potentially fatal if eaten raw, Gyromitra esculenta is a popular delicacy in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the upper Great Lakes region of North America. Although popular in some districts of the eastern Pyrenees, it is prohibited from sale to the public in Spain. It may be sold fresh in Finland, but it must be accompanied by warnings and instructions on correct preparation. Although it is still commonly parboiled before preparation, recent evidence suggests that even this procedure may not make the fungus entirely safe, thus raising concerns of risk even when prepared properly. When consumed, the false morel's principal active agent, gyromitrin, is hydrolyzed into the toxic compound monomethylhydrazine.
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