Figure 34: Labeled Fungi

Figure 26: Top of Brain Mushroom

Figure 27: Gyromitra Esculenta

Taxonomic Classification: 

Domain: Eukarya

Kingdom: Fungi

Phylum: Ascomycota

Class: Pezizomycetes

Order: Pezizales

Family: Discinaceae

Genus: Gyromitra

Species: Gyromitra Esculenta [65]

Why does the organism belong in this Kingdom?

            The Brain Mushroom is a multicellular organism made up of millions of eukaryotic cells. An example of this is that this organism consists of parts like the cap/pileus and the stem/stipe. [66] A unicellular organism would not be able to be so complex, with  structures to it like this fungus. Furthermore, if the organism was multicellular, it would only be possible to be comprised of eukaryotic cells. These two broad characteristics make this organism only be able to be classified in the Domain Eukarya. The Gyromitra Esculenta lives its life as a mycelium. The mycelium reproduces a fruiting body, which is a small mushroom. This process happens when the organism wants to reproduce sexually. The purpose of this mushroom body is to release spores into the air so that the spores can be spread around by the help of the wind.  Also the organism reproduces asexually to produce spores. [67] In the Domain Fungi, organisms are able to reproduce sexually or asexually via vegetative spores. [7] This is the same characteristic found in the Brain Mushroom.  Organisms that are classified  as Fungi, are not motile. These organisms disperse their spores in the air to be able to spread. [6] So too, the Brain Mushroom is not motile. It consists of a stem which keeps the organism in the ground and unable to move. The only way for transport, is by the spores movement through the wind. [67] This criteria, can also fit for a plant. The difference is that plants are not able to obtain energy by being saprotrophs. Fungus has this option to be for any organism in this Kingdom. Gyromitra Esculenta is saprobic which specific only to fungi, and is saprotrophic. It consumes dead or dying matter and produces it into energy for the organism. [68] This is why the Brain Mushroom is classified in the Kingdom Fungi.

General Description:

            The Gyromitra Esculenta is also known as the Brain Mushroom.  It is part of the false morels, which  are poisonous mushroom that are not edible to other organisms. It is found in North America and Europe. Even though this organism is poisonous, the level of poison depends on the location of the Brain Mushroom. The ingredient that causes this poison is the active gyromintrin which can metabolize into monomethylhydrazine which is also known as rocket fuel.  “The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, distention, weakness, lassitude, and headache; if the condition is severe, these may develop into jaundice, convulsions, coma, and death.” Which all result from consuming this fungus. [69]         

            The Gyromitra esculenta usually develops and grow during the spring season. When the environment becomes dry, it can last for a long time, even though it becomes black and dry. In the sun the cap will become darker, and the bottom will become lighter.  The cap of the mushroom  looks brain-like, or lobed. The cap is wrinkled, with a pinkish tan color or a color that is reddish brown.  The size of the cap is usually about 4-8 cm high and 3-12 cm wide. The inside of the organism, also known as the flesh, is thin, and brittle.  The stem is a pale yellow-tan color that is thick. The shape of the stem is roundish, that is “folded into a figure eight cross-section.” [68]

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