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West Coast Chanterelles (Was Re: Taxonomy and opinions)

Nathan Wilson velosa at cinenet.net
Sun Sep 10 17:32:11 EST 2000

On Sun, 10 Sep 2000 truffler1635 at my-deja.com wrote:

> At least one of us cares pretty deeply about it Nathan.

Glad to hear it!  It sometimes feels a bit lonely as a amateur mycologist
who is obsessed with taxonomy. :)

> Your references to 7 Cantharellus types sounds quite similar to mine. I'm
> wondering if there is widespread agreement on what host trees each
> variety grows near, or possibly what age the trees are.

I doubt there are there are enough people who have even asked the
question for there to be widespread agreement.

> Cantharellus aurora-borealis is a more coastal variety/species.

I've heard about this, but as you point out it seems to be associated with
Sitka spruce.  Do you know who authored this species?  I'm also curious
if it's C. aurora-borealis or C. arora-borealis since David's last name
is Arora.

> A third variety (which I am criticized constantly for) has the unusual
> feature of a hollow pileus. I have found several sites for this fungus,
> usually mixed with C. formosus. With the exception of being slightly more
> brilliant yellow than other varieties, and possibly with slightly thinner
> cap flesh, it tastes pretty much the same as any other chanterelle. Found
> with 30-60 year old D fir and Western hemlock in the Coast Range and
> Cascades, from 600-2500 feet elevation (so far).

Does sound likely to be an environmentally induced form, but sounds really
interesting.  I don't remember ever seeing a hollow pileus.  Perhaps a
hollow stipe.

> C. subalbidus in my limited experience is robust, pallid or pale buff-
> white to off-white, often several ounces per specimen, with a much
> thicker pileus. I seldom (once) encounter it under 2,000 feet elevation,
> but have found nearly pure stands of it at 2500-4000 feet elevation under
> mixed stands of old-growth trees including: D fir, W hemlock, Noble fir,
> and Pacific yew. While C. formosus can be present also in the stands, C.
> subalbidus seems to be the predominant species _unless_ one gets near
> canopy openings and abundant seedling Western hemlock. Sometimes the
> dense stands of seedling Western hemlock cover up the fruiting C.
> formosus in these sites. If I did not also find C. formosus growing up to
> 100 feet away from these seedling trees, I would call them associated
> only with very young trees.

That's really interesting.  The pale one I find most often is the
madrone/fir one and is found near the coast.  It's probably the same
organism as the collection described as C. cibarius var. pallidifolius
in Agaricales of California.  As noted in that work is does seem to
intergrade with oranger Cantharellus found in the same habitat.

> Finally, in the Mulino-Molalla area of the Cascade foothills I encounter
> a Chanterelle variety largely unlike any other I frequently collect. It
> seldom fruits until _very_ late in the season, and gets rather massive,
> although the largest water-logged specimen I've seen was still less than
> a pound in size. It differs from C. formosus in that I collected it on
> Feb. 28 one year

Now for California, particularly Southern California that isn't
particularly late.  I know people who have collected the live oak
variety as early as September (in Santa Cruz) and as late as May (near

> Is suppose I should list also the C. tubaeiformis, a non-descript
> "Yellow-foot Chanterelle" found often at snow-line, typically fruiting or
> arising from buried Noble fir logs or other debris.

At the *snow-line*, wow!  I've only ever seen this in damp forests within
a few miles of the coast.  I'm also not quite sure what to call this one. 
Various books list C. tubaeformis (Agaricales of California, Fungi of
Switzerland) while others use C. infundibuliformis (Mushrooms of
Northeastern North America, Fungi of Japan, Arora), but I haven't seen any
that list and distinguish between both. It's interesting to me that this
is a distinction that Fries made, but which most current mycologists seem
to reject.  The other thing that's odd is that apparently Smith didn't
think is was good to eat.  The one I've collected in Northern California
is excellent in fact I like it better than it's bigger cousins.

The really interesting question to me is how to make this information we
have available to others.  I'd like to extend my species listing program
to include info like this, but I really need to create a web interface for
it first.


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