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Old May 2, 2018, 8:51 pm   #1
briang
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Name: Brian
Southern, Michigan USA
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Beefsteak?

First year really giving this a shot so I'm definitely a rookie. I'm thinking this is a beefsteak...
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Old May 2, 2018, 11:49 pm   #2
Jochs
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Re: Beefsteak?

It looks like a beefsteak to me. They are toxic, so don't eat them! Your body is unable to flush the toxins (which are used in rocket fuel) and they accumulate. You can eat them for years with no apparent ill effects, then one year, you need hospitalization to be kept alive, and if you survive, you will be unable to eat any type of mushrooms.
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Old May 3, 2018, 7:53 am   #3
briang
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Re: Beefsteak?

Thanks Jeff! Yes thanks to this site i was pretty confident in what it was and aware of the toxicity. Is there any correlation between where these guys grow and where true morels tend to be?
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Old May 3, 2018, 8:33 am   #4
ndfan1964
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Re: Beefsteak?

Absolutely that's a Beefsteak. Leave it alone.
I've found beefsteaks in a lot of areas where I also find morels, but for me they've never really been an indicator, more of just a coincidence.
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Old May 3, 2018, 9:43 am   #5
fungusamungus
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Re: Beefsteak?

Yep definitely a beef steak...leave it. I agree with Rusty on the correlation.
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Old May 3, 2018, 10:57 am   #6
JonDaHighlander
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Re: Beefsteak?

Beefsteak. The only correlation i use is that they come at the beginning of the season.
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Old May 3, 2018, 6:08 pm   #7
Lew89
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Re: Beefsteak?

Gyromitra. I do like to find them, it gives me an early indicator of the potential for Morel growing conditions. I have found that they do tend to run in similar soil & leaf litter. Find one of these & spend that little extra time looking in the area.
I don't even touch them without a glove on.
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Old May 5, 2018, 9:01 am   #8
Debbie
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Re: Beefsteak?

This post sure warms my heart everyone! There used to be so many people state "well yeah they are deadly, but hey I ate them for years and it hasn't harmed me yet." To know you are all being so cautious and careful is gratifying to me.

Thank you.
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Old May 6, 2018, 3:15 pm   #9
rork
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Re: Beefsteak?

Some citations to all the assertions being made might be welcome, like the claim that the toxin can't be cleared, which I don't find in Wikipedia about gyrometrin or monomethylhydrazine.

I'm less certain your picture is of Gyrometra esculenta, but is certainly could be. Check out these other shooms.
I found many of these today which I am used to calling Gyrometra korfii, but might be synonymous with G. gigas. There were hundreds, in areas where 100-year old Scots and Red Pine were dying in plantations. I have eaten this mushroom many times with no effects. I most certainly do not say you should eat it, and caution people who have not studied it for several years and can tell it apart from G. esculenta and every other Gyrometra to definitely not eat it. After a few years study, if you must, use "the usual precautions" (eating very small amounts, then increasing dose, hoping you don't need a liver transplant). Typically this shroom comes 2-3 weeks earlier, well before any morels. In cool weather they are very persistent. Many years I see none at all, other years, tons.
Second shot is of a very young Gyrometra fastigata from 10 days ago, which had the typical 3 "lobes". I see it every year, but I've never seen it be abundant. Comes when "white" morels come. I most certainly have never eaten it.
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Old May 6, 2018, 3:43 pm   #10
Jochs
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Re: Beefsteak?

What's interesting, is I have an old book my parents had in their motorhome, and have had it since I can remember, from 1973, that says these are "Dangerous but edible and choice if you do not have a sensitivity to it."

This is the Mushroom Hunter's Field Guide, revised and enlarged, by Alexander H. Smith. eighth printing, 1973.
The book says that his species blooms when the serviceberry bushes bloom, or slightly after. This is the same time I find black morels.

The book also says "This species, on the basis of my own information acquired in teaching identification of wild mushrooms to classes in the adult education program of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, is clearly poisonous to some people and not to others. Some class members who ate small amounts (knowing what the possibilities were) experienced definite symptoms of poisoning whereas others did not. In two cases it was found that one member of a married couple could tolerate the species whereas the other could not. Each person must try it for him or herself, and it follows that this species should never be sold as an edible fungus on markets or at mushroom festivals. Krieger in his Guide to the Mushrooms of New York (p. 326) states that 160 people are known to have died from eating this species. I am not prepared to accept those figures, but the fact remains that those who use the fungus for food are taking a considerable risk. At least in the central part of Michigan this species ranks with the morels in the number of pounds collected for human consumption. Many people parboil it and throw out the water, but this procedure does not offer complete protection."

This book also classifies it as Helvella esculenta (Beesteak Morel) -(This alternate latin name and common name are mentioned in the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms...this book is a must-have for beginners as well as experienced mushroom hunters.)

This is 45 year old information, and it has been since determined that they contain toxins that your body can't get rid of. This is why some people in the test group could eat it with no apparent ill effects. Growing up, my grandmother always told us to avoid these, as well as the verpas (caps), because they could make you get sick, so we never picked them. I don't know if she or my grandfather ever tried them, but since they both lived to be 91. I'm guessing my grandfather got her into morel hunting, as he grew up in Tustin, MI, while she grew up in Wakarusa, IN, and perhaps he knew about the risks with beefsteaks from earlier generations.

I haven't found them in years, but when I ever came across them, they were normally in the same area that I was finding blacks as well as half-frees. I imagine with this year's growing conditions I may come across some, as well as some half-frees, which also fruit more some years compared to others. (This 1973 book mentions that one season in three one collect enough half-frees to bring to the table.)

Bottom line is, avoid the beefsteaks!

Smith, Alexander H. (1958, 1963, 1973) The Mushroom Hunter's Field Guide . Revised Edition. Ann Arbor, MI. The University of Michigan Press
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