Chanterelles

(Cantharellus spp.)

Other Names:
Golden Chanterelle, girolle

Range:

Family:
Cantharellaceae– Chanterelle family

Growth Type:
Chanterelles are meaty and funnel-or trumpet-shaped with wavy edged caps. Most are bright orange or yellow, although one, the black trumpet, is brownish-black. Fresh chanterelles have a pleasant, fruity fragrance. On the underside of the cap they have the appearance of gills; but they are actually blunt edged, cross-veined, forked ridges on the underside of the cap running down the stem. To ensure you have a Chanterelle, rather than the toxic jack o'lantern mushroom, check the underside of the cap; If you have sharp, unforked, gills then you most likely have the jack o'lantern.

Cap:
3/8" - 6" wide; convex, becoming flat with inrolled wavy margin, sunken in center; somewhat finely hairy or fibrous to smooth; yellow to orange-yellow. Odorless or with fragrance like apricots; taste mild to spicy-peppery.

Stem:
1" - 3" long, ¼" - 1" thick, sometimes enlarged at either end; smooth or with small, flattened fibers; yellowish to whitish, sometimes bruising orange. Flesh solid, white.

Gills:
Chanterelles do not have true gills. But rather have forked ridges on the underside of the cap which run down the stem.

Spores:
8-11 x 4-6µ; elliptical, smooth, colorless.

Spore Print:
Pale buff to pale yellow.

Height:
Up to 6" tall and 6" wide.

Miscellaneous characteristics:
N/A.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms Description:

Bright yellow to orange cap with wavy margin and yellow-orange, forked, thick-edged ridges descending stalk; fragrant. The Chanterelle does not have true gills, but merely forked ridges descending the stalk; this is the easiest way to differentiate them from the poisonous look a like the Jack O'Lantern..

Cap: 3/8" - 6" wide; convex, becoming flat with inrolled wavy margin, sunken in center; somewhat finely hairy or fibrous to smooth; yellow to orange-yellow. Odorless or with fragrance like apricots; taste mild to spicy-peppery.

Fertile Surface: Narrow, thickened ridges, forked and crossveined, nearly distant descending stalk; pale yellow to orange.

Stalk:  1" - 3" long, ¼" - 1" thick, sometimes enlarged at either end; smooth or with small, flattened fibers; yellowish to whitish, sometimes bruising orange. Flesh solid, white.

Spores: 8-11 x 4-6µ; elliptical, smooth, colorless.

Season:
June - September in the Southeast; July - August in the Northeast; September - November in the Northwest; February in California.

Habitat:
Single to many, on ground under oaks to conifers.

Parts Used:
Cap and Stem

Cautions:
Beware of confusing the chanterelle with the toxic Jack O'Lantern, see the box below.

Uses:
Wild Food Uses:
Chanterelles are choice edibles which have been prized for centuries. I have enjoyed them sauteed, as well as in soups and stews. I cannot personally attest to their palatability when consumed raw.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:
None Known

Medicinal Actions:
None KNown

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The section contains a toxic look alike

Jack O'lantern (Omphalotus olearius)

Range:

E. North America and California

Orange to yellowish-orange mushroom with sharp-edged gills descending stalk; in clusters on wood or buried wood.

Cap:

3" - 8" wide; convex to flat; usually circular at first, becoming sunken, with small central knob; margin incurved at first, then upturned and wavy to lobed; dry smooth, saffron-yellow.

Gills:

descending stalk, close, narrow; yellow-orange.

Stalk:

3" - 8" long, 3/8" - 5/8" thick, narrowing at base; long, solid, smooth, dry, curved; saffron-yellow, darkening near base.

Spores:

3.5 - 5 µ; round or nearly round, smooth, colorless, nonamyloid.

When this species is gathered fresh and taken into a dark room, the gills give off an eeris green glow.

Spore Print:

Pale cream.

Habitat:

Clustered at base of stumps and on buried roots of oak, or other deciduous wood.

Season:

July - November; November - March in California.

Unlike the Chanterelles, the Jack O'Lantern has true, sharp, non-forking gills; this is possibly the simplest trait for distinguishing between the two. Furthermore, if the Jack O'Lantern's stem is peeled, the inside is orange, while the Chanterelle is a paler white on the inside stem.

Jack-O-Lantern: (Omphalotus olearius)image
Care should be taken to ensure you do not pick this toxic look alike