Snow Morel

(Gyromitra gigas)

Conservation Status
Snow Morel
  IUCN Red List

not listed


not listed


not listed


Snow Morel is an early forest mushroom. It occurs in Europe, North America, and Japa. It is common in Europe but uncommon in North America based on the small number of records for the species. It is found in the spring and early summer alone, scattered, or in groups, on the ground or on rotten wood, under coniferous or hardwood trees, often poking through leaf litter. It is saprobic, obtaining nutrients from rotting wood, and might also be mycorrhizal, having a mutually beneficial relationship with the tiny rootlets of trees. It may exhibit both traits at different parts of its life cycle.

Snow Morel is called a “false morel” due to its similarity in appearance and seasonality to true morels (Morchella spp.).

The cap is usually 1¼ to 4 wide and 1¼ to 2 high, but may be much larger. It is hollow, strongly and deeply wrinkled, highly convoluted, and brain-like. It is often squarish and blocky, and is usually compact, without strongly projecting lobes. The upper surface is dull, yellowish-brown or tan when young, becoming darker brown or reddish-brown with age. The margin of the cap is attached directly to the stalk but it is often ingrown at that point and may appear unattached.

The stalk is massive, ¾ to 4 tall and wide, about as wide as the cap. It is pale tan or whitish, hairless, and sometimes ribbed or longitudinally wavy or folded. It is often mostly or completely hidden by the closely appressed cap.

The flesh is brittle, thin, whitish, and chambered. It is edible if sautéed but not edible when raw. Some authors suggest that it be avoided due to its similarity in appearance to the poisonous False Morel (Gyromitra esculenta).


Similar Species

  False Morel (Gyromitra esculenta) is more erect. The stalk is much narrower than the cap. The cap is less convoluted.  
Habitat and Hosts


Hardwood trees




Spring and early summer


Distribution Map



4, 7, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.





Uncommon in North America

  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Ascomycota (sac fungi)  
  Subphylum Pezizomycotina  
  Class Pezizomycetes  
  Subclass Pezizomycetidae  






  Subgenus Discina  

Subordinate Taxa


Until recently, two snow morels were recognized: Gyromitra montana in coniferous forests in the Rockies and westward, and Gyromitra korfii in hardwood forests east of the Rockies. An analysis of spore morphology in 2006 showed them to be the same species, and G. korfii and G. montanai became synonyms of Gyromitra gigas. The merge was not universally accepted. Many sources continue to treat the three species separately. iNaturalist treats the three, along with five other species, as the Gyromitra gigas Species Complex.




Gyromitra korfii

Gyromitra montana


Common Names


Bull Nose

Giant’s False Morel

Snow False Morel

Snowbank False Morel

Snow Morel

Snow Mushroom










A symbiotic, usually beneficial relationship between a fungus and the tiny rootlets of a plant, usually a tree.



A term often used for saprotrophic fungi. Referring to fungi that obtain their nutrients from decayed organic matter.

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Other Videos
  Gyromitra gigas growing on large aspen trunk
Yugra State University Biological Collection

Jul 17, 2018

Today's find was a Gyromitra growing on a large rotten aspen log, several stout apothecia with convolute stems which i preliminary named G. gigas and they actually were, after its spores examination. The spores of this species have reticulate ornamentation and apicules from both ends.

Other collections of Gyromitra were not so easy to define, as there are several close and variable species growing nearby now (G. esculenta, G. splendida and G. longipes probably). This space is for closer studies in future, and at least i made several collections of morphologically different specimens :).

Gyromitra gigas observation on iNat:

  Gyromitra Korfii ( The Bullnose Mushroom )
Michigandermushrooms Jack

Mar 23, 2007

A quick description of Gyromitra Korfii. One of two edible species of Gyromitra.The other being a western species, Gyromitra Gigas.

  Gyromitra korfii with The Mushroom Hunter
Don King

Apr 8, 2021

Check out my first edible mushroom of the spring season...Gyromitra korfii, found in Portage County, Ohio

For more info regarding the edibility of Gyromitra and Verpa mushrooms, check out:

  False Morel Mushroom Identification - Gyromitra Beefsteak Fungus

Published on May 9, 2014

Thanks for watching MiWilderness.




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Location: Hubbard county


Location: Fillmore County

Snow Morel  




Created: 5/9/2017

Last Updated:

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