False Morels

The false morel mushroom presents a big challenge in identifying it from the great morel mushroom. The problem with the false morel is that it contains toxic substances that may lead to troublesome ailments such as severe diarrhea, severe headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and nausea among others. The false morel mushroom grows in close proximity to the true morel mushroom and they appear around spring time. Common names for the false mushrooms include:

  • 'red-mushroom'
  • 'beefsteak mushroom'
  • 'lorchel'

False Morel

Characteristics of the false morel mushroom

The false morel mushroom has peculiar characteristics. We take a look at some of those characteristics.

  • The head or cap of the false morel has fold like features in the cap that appear as ugly wrinkles which are brittle when touched. This type of false morel is reddish and as it ages it changes to reddish-brown. They are often two to ten inches of size. 
  • The second way of determining a false morel is by slicing through it (longitudinally). This is the most definite tip on whether you have a false morel. Instead of being hollow, false morel mushroom are meaty, thick and spongy on the inside as seen in the picture below. Unlike other mushrooms which are hollow within and greyish on the outside. There are also notable differences in how the stem of the false morel mushroom looks and how other types of mushrooms appear.

False Morels are Toxic!

A point to note is that this mushroom should not be eaten, especially when raw. When eaten raw, the active poisonous ingredient is metabolized into monomethylhydrazine which is rocket fuel! This causes immense damage to the central nervous system, the gastro-intestinal tract and the liver. In fact, statistics indicate that two to four percent of the fatal cases associated with mushrooms in North America are associated with the false morel mushroom. 

There are people who would prefer to boil the false mushroom so as to get rid of the poisonous substances. They believe the poison will escape through evaporation and whatever is left will be drained more than one after boiling. It is important to gird oneself against inhaling any of the fumes from the boiling pot. This is because, in most cases, fumes have a greater concentration of the poison and will have the same adverse effects on any person who ingests the poison. Therefore, take heed so that you are not found victim of false morel mushrooms. 

Last modified: Friday, 3 March 2017, 4:08 AM