Chanterelle mushrooms actually include several different species of mushrooms in the Cantharellus, Gomphus, Polyozellus, and Craterellus families. chanterelle mushroom
They’re close enough in appearance and taste that the name chanterelle is just used interchangeably for all of them.
Chanterelles are among some of the world’s most popular mushrooms. They’re funnel shaped and kind of look a bit like an oyster mushroom, in that they have very pronounced “gills” that run down into the stem.
The word chanterelle comes from the greek word kantharos, which means cup, a reference to the mushroom shape.
Chanterelles are commonly found in white, yellow, or orange colors. Many species of chanterelles have a pleasant and fruity smell, similar to apricots.
There are a few false mushrooms that look similar to chanterelles. Most notably the jack-o-lantern mushroom.
While not deadly, the jack-o-lantern mushrooms will cause very unpleasant vomiting, diarrhea, and severe cramps. Definitely something you want to avoid if at all possible.
Recognizing false gills is one of the most useful ways of identifying chanterelles and distinguishing them from lookalikes.
The false gills of a chanterelle are forked folds or wrinkles underneath the mushroom. These aren’t easily removable from the cap, and often look as if they melted on to the cap and step.
They can’t be separated without tearing the mushroom itself.
A chanterelle’s false gills run down the stem, referred to as being decurrent. The true gills of a mushroom are individual structures that can be easily separated from the cap.
Think of the gills underneath a portobello mushroom.
The “gills” of a chanterelle mushroom is smooth and full of forks. Whereas the true gills of false chanterelles are deep, paper-thin, and delicate.
The cap of a chanterelle mushroom is most commonly a light yellow to orange-yellow color.
It can either be vase-shaped or convex. If you just picked it, and it has a sweet smell like an apricot, then it’s most likely a chanterelle.
The stem should not be hollow. It should be the same color as the cap, with no bulb or ring around the base.
A chanterelle’s spore print is a white to light yellow color.