Yellow Chanterelles

Cantharellus Cibarius Sensu Lato

Cantharellus cibarius Fries. Because there are no voucher specimens available from the original description of this species of chanterelle, no one really knows the exact characteristics of the original collections (and, therefore, of the species)! As more DNA analyses are performed on chanterelles, this taxon likely will be revised and what we are calling C. cibarius in North America may turn out to be a variety of chanterelle species, each having its own unique name. Until then, we will continue to see this name used in mushroom field guides and species lists. Cantharellus cibarius is not the largest or the most common of our yellow chanterelles, but some mycophagists (people who eat mushrooms) consider it to be the best edible yellow chanterelle. Characteristics of this mushroom include a cap that is usually 1.5 – 6 inches (3.8 – 15.2 cm) in diameter and often appears flattened to slightly depressed. All parts of the cap and stem are some shade of bright yellow, i.e., golden yellow or egg yolk yellow. The color of the flesh usually is white. This chanterelle often is one of the earliest species to appear. In central Arkansas, one can find young specimens of this chanterelle at the end of May and mature specimens by the middle of June. Although their growing season is not as long as some of the other chanterelles, they usually can be seen through June and sometimes into July. The Gulf States Mycological Society web site ( suggests that some mycologists consider specimens of C. cibarius that have a white stem to be a variety, provisionally given the name C. cibarius var albiceps. This form likely is not restricted to the Gulf Coastal area, and it eventually may be found in Arkansas.

Cantharellus amethysteus (Quél.) Sacc. Representing another chanterelle found in Arkansas, this tentative name describes a close relative of C. cibarius. Whether this form really is the same mushroom as the European C. amethysteus is unknown at this time. This chanterelle has the overall stature of C. cibarius, but it has small scales that turn upward and are colored purple to purple-brown. As the purple pigment oxidizes, these scales slowly become brown in color. The expansion of the cap often creates a mosaic image with yellow and brown colors. This chanterelle has been collected in Pulaski County in July and it likely occurs in other counties in the state.

Cantharellus amethysteus
Canth Lat Combo

Cantharellus lateritius (Berkeley) Sing. Formerly called Craterellus cantharellus, this is the most common yellow chanterelle in Arkansas. Characteristics of this mushroom include: caps that usually are 1 – 6 inches (2.5 – 15.2 cm) in diameter, colored yellow to yellow orange, and often having a depressed center with the edges becoming wavy. Sometimes these mushrooms can resemble yellow flowers when viewed from above. The easiest way to distinguish C. lateritius from C. cibarius is to notice that the hymenia of C. lateritius do not have the prominent gill-like ridges present in C. cibarius. The hymenia of C. lateritius have shallow ridges closer to the stalk, which become smooth closer to the edge of their caps. This chanterelle tends to have an overall look of a yellow funnel at times. It tends to fruit during the summer months, (July – August) but it can be found as late as September or even October. The species occurs throughout the state wherever oak trees occur. 

Cantharellus confluens (Berkely & M. A. Curtis) R. H. Peterson. This chanterelle is similar to C. lateritius in color and stature but it differs by having 2 or more individuals fused together at a common base. Collections fitting the description of this mushroom have been found in Arkansas. However, there is controversy (where is there not controversy when humans apply names to biota?) as to whether this is a distinct species or simply a different growth form of C. lateritius. DNA analysis should help resolve this controversy. 

Cantharellus confluens
Cantharellus minor

Cantharellus minor (Peck). As its name suggests, this species has the distinction of being the smallest of the yellow chanterelles. Its cap typically is one-third to three-fourths inches (0.8 – 2.0 cm) in diameter with a depressed center that becomes flat or sunken, and finally funnel-shaped. The color of the cap is bright yellow to dull yellow with age. This chanterelle is widely distributed in Arkansas and can be found from June through September.

 Cantharellus ignicolor R.H. Petersen. A cap that is 0.5 to 2 inches (1.3 – 5.1 cm) in diameter, with a wavy margin and having a convex shape with a depression or sunken center, characterizes this chanterelle. The color of the cap is apricot orange to yellow orange becoming dingy with age. The hymenium is colored orange-yellow becoming wine-buff to violet tinged with age. Cantharellus ignicolor can be found associated with pines or in mixed pine/hardwood forests. It is widely distributed in Arkansas, but not as common as other chanterelle species.

Ignicolor Combo

Cantharellus tabernensis Feibelman & Cibula. This chanterelle was described from collections made in a well-drained mixed forest area in coastal Mississippi. It also has been collected under pines in boggy edges next to swamp. Cantharellus tabernensis is characterized by a cap that typically is 1 to 1.75 inches (2.5 – 4.4 cm) in diameter, incurved at the edge, and becoming flat with age. Color of the cap is light to moderate orange-yellow with a darker center. The stem and hymenium are colored vivid orange-yellow – which is a distinctive taxonomic feature. It is said to have a fragrant odor, reminiscent of apricots. It likely occurs in Arkansas. 

 Cantharellus appalachiensis Petersen. Occurring in the South and Southeastern regions of the U.S, the features of this chanterelle include a cap that is dull brown in color and 0.5 to 2 inches (1.3 – 5.1 cm) in diameter. The stem has a dull brown color like the cap and is 0.6 to 2 inches (1.5 – 5.1 cm) in length. Cantharellus appalachiensis is known from the New England area, Tennessee, North Carolina, Missouri and Texas. Because it has been collected in states adjacent to Arkansas, it may also occur in our state.

Cantharellus appalachiensis
Craterellus odoratus

Craterellus odoratus (Schweinitz:Fries). An easily identifiable yellow chanterelle, this species is composed of yellow trumpet-shaped fruiting bodies that are fused together at the base. Typical size of the individual fruiting bodies is in the range of 1 – 3.75 inches (2.5 – 9.5 cm) wide and 1 – 2.5 inches (2.5 – 6.4 cm) tall. Clusters can be up to 8 – 10 inches (20.3 – 25.4 cm) across. Although this chanterelle is very common along the Gulf Coast, it likely occurs in Arkansas, but it would be rare. The species name “odoratus” is derived from the fact that the mushroom is described as having the odor of violets. 

 Cantharellus lutescens and Cantharellus xanthopus are former names for two chanterelles that have only recently been synonymized. At some point in the future, the taxon will be in the genus Craterellus, under the newly proposed name of Craterellus aurora. This chanterelle is small in size, with a cap usually only 0.75 to 1.5 inches (1.9 – 3.8 cm) in diameter. The cap is covered with small brown fibrils that make the cap appear to be brown when it is young. At maturity, the cap appears to be streaked with orange as the base color manifests itself as the fibrils spread apart. This form is known from eastern North America and appears to be more common from the Great Lakes region and areas north.

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