False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis Aurantiaca) Identification

False Chanterelle / Summer / Autumn / Toxic

Description 

A fairly common mushroom especially in the north of the UK, they are often mistaken for the much prized Chanterelle (Cantharellus Cibarius). Not deadly toxic but one to avoid. Annoyingly they grow exactly where you’ll be finding chanterelle mushrooms and from a distance look quite similar, I’ve found myself getting excited to see one in the distance to discover it’s a false chanterelle on getting closer. Needless to say I’ve kicked one or two of these mushrooms in the past 🙂


Scientific Name

Hygrophoropsis Aurantiaca


Common Names

False Chanterelle


Family

Hygrophoropsidaceae


Habitat

They are saprotrophic, feeding on leaf litter and dead wood. They are most often found in coniferous forests but do also appear with deciduous trees. They’re also occasionally found on heath land.


Identifying Features:

Cap:

They have a golden/orange coloured cap that is convex when young but becomes more funnel-shaped with age. They tend to always have an in-rolled edge that gets more pronounced as they age. The flesh inside is of a similar colour to the cap, never white.

Björn S…, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Stem:

The stem is a similar colour to the cap, quite thin, they tend to get more bulbous and darker in colour towards the base.

Bubulcus, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Gills:

The gills are true, decurrent, forked and crowded. They have a more intense golden/orange colour than the cap or stem.

Decurrent Gill
Björn S…, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Smell:

Mild mushroomy.


Spores:

White.


Known hazards

Although not thought to be seriously toxic it has been known to cause some alarming symptoms in some so its best avoided. They have been known to cause gastrointestinal issues and sickness in some. Others have also reported hallucinations as a result of eating this mushroom so it’s best avoided.


Potential lookalikes

The most common lookalike would be the true Chanterelle (Cantharellus Cibarius). They do from a distance like very similar but are quite easy to tell apart on closer inspection. The Chanterelle has false gills that are more like folds and when it’s cut in half it has pure white flesh, they also have a lovely fruity/peachy/apricot scent whereas the False Chanterelle has a faint mushroomy smell and as true crowded, decurrent gills.

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