Habitat and Ecology
Gyromitra gigas occurs in hardwoods as well as coniferous forests or in forest clearings, prevalently in close proximity of (or directly from) old stumps, rotten logs or other decayed wood. In central Europe, it prefers woods of birch or aspen, but it also grows in association with spruce, linden, hornbeam or oak, and occasionally with other trees. Gyromitra gigas occurs from submontane to montane level, both on alkaline and acidic substrates. Ascomata emerge from late March until mid-April, and they persist until early May. Growing solitary to gregariously. Overall, it is not very common; yet, in certain regions and some years, it is more abundant. In western and southern Europe, it is predominantly collected in coniferous forests at medium to high elevation although collections under Fagus are frequently reported.
In N. Macedonia, it is found in old-growth Pinus peuce forests, at an altitude of 1,600 m a.s.l., and also in a creeping-pine community, at altitudes of approximately 1,900-2,000 m. The stands of creeping pine or dwarf mountain pine (Pinus mugo) develop in the subalpine or alpine belt in Jakupica mountain massif. This community represents a priority habitat according to the Habitat Directive, *4070: Bushes with Pinus mugo and Rhododendron hirsutum (Mugo-Rhododendretum hirsuti). In both cases, the species was collected in April, on rotten creeping pine stumps or on ground.