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Any of various species of edible mushrooms in the genera Morchella and Verpa. Morels have a convoluted or pitted head, or cap, vary in shape, and occur in diverse habitats. The edible M. esculenta, found in woods during early summer, is among the most highly prized edible fungi. The bell morel (Verpa), an edible mushroom with a bell-shaped cap, is found in woods and in old orchards in early spring. False morels, or lorchels, are represented by the genera Gyromitra and Helvella. Most species of Gyromitra are poisonous.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on morel, visit Britannica.com.