"Beefsteak Mushroom"

Robert L. Chehey cheheyr at micron.net
Wed Jun 4 01:08:41 EST 1997


The recent exchange on "Gyromitra poison info" demonstrates the
silliness of common names (my opinion, only).

The beefsteak mushroom or liver mushroom is Fistulina hepatica, and has
been, in mushroom books for nearly 100 yr.  Proper common names (if you
can call them that) for Gyromitra esculenta are brain mushroom or false
morel. Names for Boletus edulis are king bolete, cep, steinpiltz,
porcini, jurcek, jesenski goban, and grzyby.

The toxin in G. esculenta is a protein-bound(if I remember correctly)
mono-methyl hydrazine.  It is volatile, and is completely driven off,in
many cases, by cooking or drying. Also, you are correct, the amount of
toxin appears to vary from region to region. For these reasons it has
delighted many, and killed a few.

It is a very good idea never to eat any member of the pezizales
(including morels) raw!! It is also a good thing not to smell them while
they are cooking, since the toxin is volatile.
Robert L. Chehey,		Home:	cheheyr at micron.net
Manager, Microbiology		Work:	cheheyr at dhw.state.id.us
Bureau of Laboratories
Boise, ID 

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