July 26, 2021
Good morning friends,
If you’re reading this, it means I have achieved mastery over Microsoft Outlook and learned out how to send a delayed email. I’m hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, quite possibly looking at mushrooms this very moment, but I wasn’t going to leave everyone hanging on the last week of July. This week’s mushroom is Cantharellus lateritius – the smooth chanterelle. This mushroom was found near the base of an oak (Quercus) on 6/26/2021 in the North Woods.
C. lateritius is mycorrhizal with oaks and hickories (Carya). It can grow alone or in clumps and is found in North America, Africa, and parts of Asia. The species name “Lateritius” connotes “bricklike” – referring to the smooth underside of the cap. Traditional chanterelles have false gills running down the stipe (stem) of the mushroom. False gills are folds on the underside of a cap that resemble gills but are not structurally independent and therefore aren’t true gills. Regardless, this specimen of C. lateritius possesses neither (however there is some variation amongst the species where some develop slightly false gills as they reach maturity).
C. lateritius also produces several different carotenoids (such as beta-carotene, produced by carrots as well) which contribute to its yellow/orange color. Interestingly, Michael Kuo of mushroomexpert.com points out the species isn’t well documented and there could be several different species that are grouped under the name C. lateritius. Our specimen in the park had some unique characteristics (darker color, completely devoid of false gills into maturity, odorless) which makes me think it could be an undescribed species. A reminder to save one next year.
C. lateritius, along with other chanterelles, is considered a choice edible. Very neat to see tasty, nutritious food growing in our soil.
1) Kuo, M. (2015, March). Cantharellus lateritius. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/cantharellus_lateritius.html