It might look like zombie bait, but it’s the big read false morel mushroom, Gyromitra caroliniana. These brainy growths signal warming soils. The appearance of true morels is not far off. Watch out, the big red false morel is considered poisonous. Learn more about them here.

I’ve never been worried about mixing up a big red false morel with a “true” morel. However, if the color doesn’t give it away consider this: 1) big reds look like squiggly brain matter while morels have a honeycomb surface and 2) morels are totally hallow and big reds have chambers when bisected. But, don’t use only one source to ID toxic mushroos, especially some random chick on the internet 🙂

Instead, go mushroom hunting with experienced foragers and consult multiple field guides. The only way you’ll get a good feel for mushroom ID is observing a lot of different specimens of the same species becoming aware of variation and how they differ from look-alikes.

Mid Missouri, my secret spot, 2014.

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