Chanterelle or Girolle
Cap: cm across Stem: cm in length, cm diameter
drinking vessel or 'chalice'
from cibus meaning 'food'
Overall: one of the most highly prized mushrooms in our woodlands, whilst it is widespread it can be locally abundant. Often easy to miss on the woodland floor as the caps can look just like fallen leaves. A small to medium sized mushroom 3-10cm across.
Stem: the same colour or paler than the cap, tapering slightly, can be curved.
Note: cap is often incurved at the margin, more noticeable in younger specimens. When the cap opens out it can lose this.
Flesh: white with yellowish tints, some say there is a slight fruity smell, apricots, but many people never seem to be able to smell this.
Gills: not technically gills they are more like veins and are interconnected, this helps distinguish it from the False Chanterelle. Veins are thick and very decurrent.
Cap: irregular, no two specimens seem to look alike, the cap starts out flattened becoming irregular and mostly slightly funnel shaped. Bright golden yellow but becoming paler with age.
Note: this charismatic mushroom can occur from late June (in exceptional years) right through until the end of October.
OVERALL: One of the most iconic mushrooms that grows in the wild in UK, the Chanterlle is a stunning species, both to look at and to taste. Its distinctive trumpet like shape and bright yellow colour make this mushroom stand out from the other, but not from leaves, in an area of birch woodland near to my house you would be surprised how well camouflaged these mushrooms are in amongst the fallen birch leaves. Across the country it is a common species, in Scotland and the south of England woodlands can be covered with these, but up here they can be a little more picky in where they grow and in some areas they can be difficult to find, in others they are locally abundant. Some authors say when you pick and smell them they have an apricot aroma (I have never convinced myself with this and neither have any of my friends). The taste of this mushroom is fantastic and is one of the best wild eating mushrooms (I prefer the texture of these to any other) and if you dry them and use them then I think that flavour comes out even more. They can be found in a variety of woodland but take care not to confuse them with the False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca), this is a more orange coloured mushroom with 'real' gills (the Chanterelle has unfolds in the surface making them look more like veins than gills) the stem on the False Chanterelle is usually thinner and False Chanterelle occurs in coniferous woodlands and heathlands.
HABITAT: Mainly deciduous woodland and often found with Oak, Hazel and Birch. Sometimes, but rarely, with conifers.
DISTRIBUTION: A nationally common species but in certain are it can be very difficult to find, Scotland and the Southern counties certainly to seem to be the best places in the UK to encounter this species.
SEASON: July through until November.
EDIBILITY: 5/5, one of the best wild mushrooms to find and cook with, it has a lovely texture and taste and if you dry them and the store this is said to bring out even more flavour.
EASE OF IDENTIFICATION: Relatively easy, once seen it is very hard to confuse Chanterelle with any other species, there are one or two look-a-likes (see below), but the shape, size, colour and the vein like folds resembling 'gills' are quite unique.
SMELL: Some authors suggest apricots but I have never managed to get this smell. It does however smell 'pleasant'.
SIMILAR SPECIES: The orange coloured False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) and the extremely rare but poisonous Jack O'Lantern (Omphalotus) look similar but a close inspection will reveal obvious differences. The Trumpet Chanterelle (Craterellus tubaeformis) is similar but small and duller in colour. The Brown Rollrim (Paxillus involutus) is similar shape but usually much larger, browner and has true gills. The deadly Deady Webcap has said to be confused for Chanterelle but it has no deccurent 'gills' and is a brown colour rather than egg yellow.