Scientific name: Cantharellus spp.
Fungi family: Cantharellaceae
Description: Chanterelle mushrooms are golden yellow in color, have brittle, soft or leathery flesh with spore bearing ridges on the underside of the cap. The size of the cap for the chanterelle averages 2-14 cm and the stem size averages 4-8 cm.
Habitat and Range: Cantharellus spp. grows in well-drained forest soils with low nitrogen content and can specifically be found in Douglas-fir, hemlock, spruce, fir and pine forests in the Northwest and in oak, beech, birch, and conifer forests in southern California. Chanterelles grow near an ectomycorrhizal host tree and are the reproductive structure formed by the symbiotic relationship between this host tree’s roots and soil fungus.
Historical and Contemporary Uses
There are over 40 species of Cantharellus spp. currently recognized in North America and over 70 species described worldwide. Seven species are present in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, the most commercially valuable and widely collected being the Pacific golden chanterelle, C. formosus.
Chanterelle mushrooms are highly prized mushrooms that are most commonly used for food consumption. This graceful golden mushroom is known for its earthy-sweetness and delicate texture and is exceptionally important in the food culture of the Pacific Northwest. Consuming the chanterelle is known to have health benefits. Compounds in fungi have been found to stimulate the immune system
and inhibit tumor growth. The vibrant golden color of the chanterelle can also be useful as a dye, creating a muted yellow tint.