Home Medicinal Plants Morels and spring morels

Morels and spring morels

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 350 views

If you want to collect the delicious morel, you should be careful not to confuse it with the highly poisonous spring morel. Find out what similarities and differences the two mushrooms have here!

Speisepilz: Speisemorchel (Morchella esculenta)

The morel is one of the most popular edible mushrooms. It is suitable for all types of preparation and can even be dried – eating it raw, however, can cause dizzy spells. It should therefore only be eaten cooked and the cooking water should be poured away.

The morel is up to eight centimeters high. The stem is white to off-white and hollow inside. It is firmly attached to the hat, which is also hollow. This measures up to five centimeters in diameter, is light beige to ocher in color and furrowed. It also has honeycomb structures in which the spores mature. The flesh of the morel is whitish, brittle and almost odorless.

Especially when the weather is suitable (e.g. after warm rain), morels are common, albeit rather scattered. It grows in deciduous and mixed forests as well as next to streams, on the edges of ponds or in gardens and parks.

Doppelganger: spring morel (Gyromitra esculenta)

The unintentional consumption of the spring morel with its poison gyromitrine has already led to fatalities. It used to be listed as an edible mushroom – this is also revealed by the Latin suffix “esculenta”, which means “edible”. The poison can be removed from the mushrooms through a lengthy cooking process. However, inhaling the cooking fumes can lead to poisoning in some cases.

The spring morel can be recognized by its three to nine centimeters wide, brown hat, which is irregularly bulging, twisted like a brain and irregularly hollow on the inside. Hat edge and stem are fused together. The stem is white, wrinkled and thickened at the base. The flesh of the spring morel is white and brittle.

The spring morel is common in Central Europe. It grows mainly in pine forests in clear places, sometimes also on bark mulch in the garden.

Distinction: The spring morel grows mainly in pine forests and does not have a honeycombed hat. Also, as the name suggests, it grows in spring.

Possible symptoms: Poisoning by spring morels (gyromitrine syndrome) usually becomes noticeable six to eight hours (at the latest 24 hours) after the mushroom meal – when eating larger quantities of mushrooms and in children even after four hours. The first symptoms are nausea , vomiting, diarrhea, colic, headaches and mild jaundice. These symptoms last for a day or two. From the third day, convulsions, impaired consciousness, liver and kidney failure develop.

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