The Chanterelle Mushroom is the state mushroom of Oregon and belongs to the Cantharellus group. Chanterelles are edible (and great to eat), but have similar friends who are not as edible. In fact Chanterelles are so good to eat, they can sell from $10-$45 dollars a pound. So go grab a good hiking stick, get a sharp knife, and print out this description of the Chanterelle, so you can start picking. Just remember to pick during the Chanterelle season and consult a mushroom expert before eating.


 The following is characteristics of only the Original Chanterelle (Cantharellus Cibarius) not the Red, Black, smooth, etc. Chanterelles, however, most of the characteristics match the other types of Chanterelle species.

 Chanterelles have a cap that ranges from 1-20 cm. across. Most Chanterelles you find will have a depressed center in the middle of the cap. The color of the cap ranges from a bright egg yolk yellow to a pale yellow-orange. Its surface is smooth and sometimes wet. Chanterelles have unlike most mushrooms False gills attached to the underside of the cap. The False gills are kind of wrinkled and cross each other. False gills stop at the half way point on the stem. The stem can range from 3-8 cm. long and is usually the same color as the cap or white. Inside the mushroom, or flesh, it’s not hollow, and it is either white or yellowish.

 One of the best ways to identify a Chanterelle is to believe it or not, smell it. If the Chanterelle smells of apricots you most likely have a real Chanterelle. If you eat it (cook it first) your Chanterelle should have a pleasant peppery taste to it. If you take a spore print (which allows you to see the color of the spores) you should have a marking of yellow on your paper.

Habitats And Seasons

 Chanterelles are never found in wide open areas, but only under trees. They will grow in deciduous and coniferous forests, but mostly prefer conifers. You will find them abundant around such trees as Douglas Fir, pine trees, oak, and Noble Fir. Do not expect to find too many Chanterelles on the valley floor though, because most Chanterelles only grow 2,000 feet above sea level and higher. Chanterelles don’t just grow in Oregon, but they grow all around the world. In fact, the Chanterelle was first discovered in Japan.

 When will you see these mushrooms though? Chanterelle seems to grow right when it starts raining after a long hot season. In the eastern states, you will expect to find them in the months of July-August because of their early rain season. In the Pacific Northwest, you’ll probably see them popping up from August-November, particularly September. 

 Edible And Poisonous Species

 Chanterelles have quite a few species. The popular edible species are the Original Chanterelle (or Yellow Chanterelle), White Chanterelle, Smooth Chanterelle, Red Chanterelle, and Black Trumpet. But with like almost every mushroom, the Chanterelle has some non-edible or poisonous similar species and if not identified correctly, can lead to serious problems including death.

 The most common poisonous Chanterelle species are called the Jack O’ Lantern and the False Chanterelle. The Jack O’ Lantern gets its name due to the fact that the mushroom is orange, but also glows a tiny bit at night. Spooky. Any attempt to swallow this vermin would be very deadly. There is three easy ways to tell however, if you got a Jack or not. One, the mushroom would be growing on wood (real Chanterelles never do this). Second of all, Jack O’ Lanterns often grow in humongous patches unlike Chanterelles. This is a sign you’ve got a Jack also. And finally, just smell it. If it smells like apricots, it’s a real Chanterelle, if not, it’s a Jack.

 The False Chanterelle, like the Jack O’ Lantern, doesn’t smell like apricots either. This is one easy way to tell if you have a False Chanterelle. You’ll find it near or on coniferous wood, (remember real Chanterelles don’t grow on wood) in groups or scattered around.  False Chanterelles are widely disturbed throughout North America. The cap is darker than a chanterelle (which is another way to identify one), and its stem is the same color as the cap, which is uncommon for real Chanterelles. The final way to tell if you have a False Chanterelle is to look at its gills. If they are true gills (being less wavy, smaller, and crowded), you have a False Chanterelle.