Big Red False Morel
Reddish brown, convoluted, brainlike cap; whitish stalk stuffed with cottony tissue. Grows singly or in groups in mixed woods. Late March–May. Cap convoluted, brainlike; reddish brown outside, buff-tan inside; cap margin is fused to the stalk; interior is chambered. Stalk enlarges toward base; whitish; texture grooved to smooth; stuffed with cottony white tissue. Spore print clear to white. Spores magnified are elliptical, smooth.
Lookalikes: Gabled false morel (Gyromitra brunnea) is more lobed and saddle-shaped than brainlike, and it has a cap margin that is not fused to the stalk. Some people confuse true morels (Morchella spp.) with false morels, though spending just a little time comparing them and reading descriptions should prevent any confusion. All Missouri true morels are completely hollow inside.