In Kansas the morel season usually begins about April
10. If the morels are not fruiting yet, Gyromitra fastigiata
usually is. It is not normally found in large quantities, but is
the most abundant of the false morels in Kansas. Called elephant
ears due to its wrinkled lobes, it is easy to spot and recognize.
The mushroom is also known as Gyromitra brunnea.
It contains gyromitrin which converts to
monomethylhydrazine, a toxic compound, as a product of hydrolysis
during the cooking process. No fatalities have been reported from
eating this mushroom, but a noted mycologist can testify to being very
ill after consuming it. It should definitely not be eaten.