Craterellus fallax

February 22, 2021

Good morning team,

I feel like we’ve had enough tree pathogens the last few weeks so I’m going to reach back to last summer for this week’s mushroom. It’s Craterellus fallax, commonly known as the black trumpet mushroom. The mushrooms attached were found fruiting in the Catskills on 7/17/2020. This is the first MM where we’ve ventured outside the park because I felt like with all the pathogens featured recently we’d strung together too many morose Mushroom Mondays.

C. fallax is mycorrhizal with Oak (Quercus) and Beech (Fagus). Mycorrhizal means the fungal body, the hyphae and mycelium, will grow around the root tips of the trees and form a symbiotic relationship with these trees. The fungus will give nutrients like water and phosphorous to the trees in return for sugars the trees produce from photosynthesis. There are further levels to it that we’ll breach together someday in the future.

C. fallax is commonly found in North America east of the Rockies and fruits during the summer months. There is also a European species of black trumpets (C. cornucopioides) which C. fallax used to be lumped in with until it was determined to be genetically unique. The genus Craterellus is closely related to Cantharellus (chanterelles) and both can be recognized by the lack of division between their cap and stipe.1 

C. fallax has traditionally been used for culinary purposes and one neat idea I saw for C. fallax was to take a few dried mushrooms, drop them into a mild bottle of white wine, recork it, and refrigerate it for twenty-four hours.2 The last fun fact I have is that in French, black trumpets are called trompettes de la mort (trumpets of the dead). One theory behind the name is that they appear to be trumpets played by dead people just beneath the soil.3

Despite the current snow, the cardinals and house finches were singing boisterously this morning – spring has sprung,
Aubrey

References
1) Dahlman, Mattias; Danell, Eric; Spatafora, Joseph W. (April 2000). “Molecular systematics of Craterellus: cladistic analysis of nuclear LSU rDNA sequence data” (PDF). Mycological Research104 (4): 388–394. 
2) Black Trumpet Mushroom (Craterellus cornucopioides and C. fallax) – AmericanMushrooms.com
3) Craterellus cornucopioides | Gyaanispecies Wiki | Fandom