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False morel fungus

The False morel (Gyromitra esculenta), also known a variety of common names such as Lorchel, Brain fungus, Red mushroom or Beefsteak mushroom, is a poisonous ascomycete fungus somewhat similar in appearance to the "true" morel.

While false morels are deadly poisonous when raw, in some parts of the world they are considered edible (and delicious) if properly parboiled.

False morels contain gyromitrin, a volatile water-soluble hydrazine compound that decomposes in the body into methyl hydrazine.

It acts as a hemolytic toxin as well as damaging the liver and the central nervous system.

Due to its volatility, even the mere presence of fresh false morels in a poorly ventilated space may cause gyromitrin poisoning symptoms such as headache, dizziness and nausea.

Consuming raw or incorrectly prepared false morels can result in catastrophic liver failure and death.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "False morel fungus", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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July 27, 2015

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