False Chanterelle

Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca


Cap: 2-6cm across  Stem: 2-6cm in length, 4-10mm diameter

meaning looking like Hygrophorus - a group of mushrooms known as Woodwaxes.

meaning orange coloured

Overall: often confused with the real Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius), but once seen and handled it is rather distinctive. The 'marshmallow' like feel, more orange colour and real gills (unlike the Chanterelle) are all the key things to look out for.

Stem: usually has a slight curve and is more or less the same colour as the cap and gills. More often than not it is slightly darker as the cap fades quickly in bright sunlight.

Flesh: orange, but can fade to peachy/yellow in dried out specimens, no real odour or taste. No distinctive colour change.

Gills: orange, but can fade in weather, decurrent giving the mushroom the look of a 'funnel'. Each gill starts from the stem and about 1/3 of the way along splits into two

Cap: begins slightly rounded and becomes flatter as it matures, usually keeping a slight roll in the cap margin, orange, but can fade to peach, yellow or almost white depending on weather conditions.


OVERALL: You will have heard me drone on about how the Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) is one of my favourite mushrooms, well this is its closest look a like, although scientifically it is not even in the same family. There is varying information as to its edibility some books say it is edible, but don’t have in any quantity, where as others say poisonous. It is known to have caused reactions, including hallucinations, vomiting and severe stomach cramps. For that reason I think it is one we should all steer clear well away off for the pot. It is however a lovely one to find and it is worth learning so you know what not to pick when you find the real Chanterelle. It is orange all over with strong decurrent gills which come down on the stem giving a kind of trumpet like appearance. The main difference between this species and the chanterelle is the colour, orange rather than egg yellow and the fact the gills are ‘real’; with the Chanterelle they are merely infolds in the membrane. The False Chanterelle is commonly encountered in areas with pine as well as in acid grassland/heath, being found from as early as July right through until the first frosts.


HABITAT: Usually occurs in areas with coniferous trees and on heathland or acidic grassland.


DISTRIBUTION: Common and widespread across much of the UK.


SEASON: Late summer to late autumn.


EDIBILITY: Not Edible. Not pleasant to taste and some people have suffered quite severe symptoms after ingesting it.


EASE OF IDENTIFICATION: Once seen it is quite obvious, the orange colour, the 'marshmallow' texture and splitting real gills should all point to this species.


SMELL: Not distinctive.




SIMILAR SPECIES: The Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) is probably is closest look-a-like. It differs in being more of an orange colour, though this can fade to a yellow colour in heavy rain or when bleached by direct sunlight. It has 'real' gills, like a normal mushroom, where as the Chanterelle has firmer 'vein-like' structures that can often inter-connect. The False Chanterelle has a softer feel, almost like a marshmallow feel to it, different to that of the Chanterelle.