Chanterelle season has started in our area, and there are many different kinds of them out in the woods right now. These mushrooms are sought after and hunted worldwide for their prized flavor, and we are lucky to have them growing in abundance in our area.
One of the most common is going to be called a Smooth Chanterelle – Cantharellus lateritius. All varieties of chanterelles have false gills, but this variety has virtually no “gills” on the underside. As can be seen in the third picture below, the underside of a Smooth Chanterelle has very fine ridges where the gills usually are. Sometimes the ridges can even be non-existent, and the underside can be completely smooth.
Smooth Chanterelles are often referred to as “weedy” because they often grow in great abundance. We started with this variety because they seem to be the most common in our area. Another type of Chanterelle with an orange color is called Cantharellus minor. These are usually found growing in mossy areas along the sides of trails. The distinctive feature of this chanterelle is the small size. They will rarely be over a few inches tall, and the stem is going to be fairly thin, as compared with other chanterelles.
A third type of chanterelle that can be found is called Cantharellus cibarius. This is the mushroom that people are talking about when refer simply to “Chanterelles”… this is the standard chanterelle. It has false gills, but the gills are generally much more well developed than that of the Smooth Chanterelle. It also typically has much more of a yellowish hue than its smooth cousin, which is typically orangish.
A fourth variety of chanterelle that is popping up locally is called Cantharellus appalachiensis. The distinguishing feature from other chanterelles is the brown area in the central depression of the cap. (Sorry for the picture quality…this was pulled off the cell). We usually see this mushroom on the sides of hills.
There are even more vareities of chanterelles than this that can be found in the woods. These include red and black varieties…although they are usually found less frequently. Look for chanterelles from now through the fall in hardwood forests, especially under oaks.
Hope you enjoyed learning a little about chanterelles. Dont forget that the first meeting of our mycological society will be at 7:30pm on Tuesday July 6th. Hope you can make it.