Chanterelle or Jack O'Lantern?

BrianMc brianmc at
Sun Jul 9 14:26:11 EST 1995

The most common mistake beginning amateurs make is an overreliance on a
single feature in identifying a mushroom. For the Chantrelle, you want to
look for a combination of features. First, are the widely spaced, blunt,
fold-like ridges in place of the narrow, close gills found on the
Jack-O-Lantern.  Second, the odor, which is faint, or mildly fruity (like
apricots).  The Jack-O-Lantern has a disagreeable odor.  The gills on the
Jack-O-Lantern are differently colored than the cap.

Under a microscope, the differences are startling.  Cantherellus has
six-spored, and sometimes eve eight-spored basidia (fertile cells) 
Omphalotus is more typically four-spored.  Most amateurs, however, have
neither the time, nor the inclination to do microscopy (what a shame!).

Keep a careful eye on the mushroom's habitat.  Habitat often offers
important clues as to the nature of the mushroom.
| Brian McNett                  e-mail: <brianmc at>
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