Thursday, May 31, 2007


The chanterelles should be showing up in Mid-Missouri in June, usually closer to the end of the month. And as long as it stays moist, they can flush all the way through September in a good season. I find them in mixed hardwoods with lots of oak and hickory. I have noticed no particular associations with trees, but I do tend to find them along low lying dried up creeks and drainages more often then not. If you find one large patch along a stream continue walking down to where any runoff might have settled and you can usually find more patches down stream. To help the novice hunter I thought I would post a few photos from the last few years to differentiate them from their poisonous look-a-likes, the jack-o-lantern mushroom.

A mature common yellow chanterelle

A mature orange smooth chanterelle

Here is a photo of a lone Jack-o-lantern mushroom taken by a friend. Compared to the previous picture It is easy to see how this could be mistaken for a chanterelle. However, if you look close you can see the gills underneath on the Jack-o-lantern. The gills often run down the stem as pictured here.

The undersides of the smooth chant are, well, smooth, hence the name, and easily distinguished from those of the Jack-o-lantern. Chants also have a fruity, almost apricot, sweet smell to them that Jacks do not.

And Jacks grow from rotten/rotting wood. Sometimes this can be old decaying tree roots underground, so always be careful and look close for any buried wood.

Here are some clusters of Jack-o-lanters that I found in the fall of 2005. Notice on the big one how straight the gills are. Chanterelles do not have gills and the ridges often fork or form a "y" pattern. Jack-o-lanters gills do NOT fork.

This photo shows another distinguishing feature of Jacks. They usually grow in large clusters. Chanterelles on the other hand, tend to grow in patches of singles, doubles and triples. I have yet to find a larger cluster of chanterelles.

Here is a group of common yellow chanterelles. Notice they are not so clustered together.

Good luck and please report any of your finds. Always remeber to follow the mushroom hunter's crede "When in doubt, throw it out."

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