Amethyst Chanterelle

Cap: 2-7cm across  Stem: 2-6cm in length, 3-8mm diameter

Cantharellus amethysteus

drinking vessel or 'chalice'

meaning amethyst coloured

Stem: 2-6cm in length, 3-8mm diameter. Often more slender than that of its very close relation the Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius), Yellow all over, turning slightly browny when handled. Pale at the stem apex.

 

Flesh: pale, off white to cream with yellowish edges, discolours slightly more when cut after a few minutes. Not a very distinctive smell other than 'pleasant'.
 

Overall: a species that not many of the 'regaular' field guides cover and so perhaps has been under-recorded over the years. As wonderful to eat as the Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius), with varying amount of lilac on the cap.
 

Cap: 2-7cm across. Darker than the underneath often with lilac/purple scales which can be very obvious or less so in our opinion. Wavy and irregular margin, starts of rounded and becomes flatter eventually turning in on itself and become 'funnel' shaped.

Veins: usually a paler colour to the rest of the yellow on the cap and stem. Not really gills more like 'veins', wrinkled and often inter-locking. Strongly decurrent giving the overall apopearance of a 'trumpet shape.

OVERALL: Certain specimens of this mushroom can look stunning, others have a subtle hue where it is almost un-noticable, but the Amethyst Chanterelle is more common than I believe the books and distribution maps give credit. One problem is that it is not well described in field guides and in most isn't even in, so how would people know about, especially when it looks almost identical to the ordinary Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius). So what are you looking for, well in extreme examples of this species the cap would look totally lilac with the usually yellow underneath and stem, in more typically examples then it has slightly purple scales usually in the centre of the cap but it can be faint or in some cases the colour is much more towards the edge of the cap. I have found both these species growing relatively close together and when you see them side by side I found the Amethyst chanterelle has less of a bold yellow colour, the underneath is pale and it is less ‘golden’. Even if you mis-identified one for the other it is fine as they are both as edible and tasty as each other, it is one of those things I want people to look for as a) it is important to know exactly which species you are picking and b) the Amethyst Chanterelle is probably more common than we realise and it would be good to find out if people are picking one, the other or both and perhaps we can get a true idea of how common this species is.

HABITAT: usually under broadleaf trees, especially Beech (Fagus), Oak (Quercus) and Birch (Betula). It has rarely been recorded with coniferous trees.

DISTRIBUTION: vastly under-recorded so a true picture of this species distribution is hard to ascertain, most records are from the south-west and southern England and southern Wales. With scattered records elsewhere. Few records in Scotland and non in Northern Ireland.

SEASON: late summer to autumn.

SPORE PRINT: White.

EDIBILITY: 5/5,

EASE OF IDENTIFICATION: The Amethyst Chanterelle is a variable species, the amount of lilac scales on the cap can vary and some caps can look very lilac where as others just have a few scales, many people pick and eat this species thinking it is the ordinary Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) but on closer inspection it is easy to tell the two apart.

SMELL: 'Pleasant', some say of apricots but I have never managed to smell that.

SIMILAR SPECIES: The Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) is a more golden colour all over and lacks any lilac type scales on the cap. The Trumpet Chanterelle (Cantharellus tubaeformis) has a yellow stem but lacks any yellow colour in the cap. The False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca), is more orange all over fading to peach and has real gills rather than the 'veins' the Amethyst Chanterelle has. The very rare Jack 'o' Lantern (Omphalotus illudens) (less than 20 records in the UK and all in the South-east) is toxic and has regular gills rather than the 'veins'.

SYNOYNMS: Cantharellus cibarius var. amethysteus Quél. Craterellus amethysteus (Quél.) Quél. Cantharellus amethysteus (Quelet) Sacc. Cantharellus cibarius var. amethystea Quelet. Cantharellus cibarius var. amethysteus Quél.

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Manchester, Cheshire, Deeside & North Wales

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