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Cantharellus appalachiensis

[ Basidiomycetes > Cantharellales > Cantharellus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Cantharellus appalachiensis is an apparently eastern species of chanterelle, easily recognized by its brownish cap and stem. It is fairly evenly brown when young, but yellow and yellow-brown shades soon dominate, leaving a brownish spot in the center of the cap by maturity. The undersurface has well developed false gills that are yellow from youth to maturity. Cantharellus appalachiensis stains dull red on the flesh and the undersurface when a drop of iron salts is applied (see the page on testing chemical reactions), and is apparently the only North American species of Cantharellus to do so; other species demonstrate a negative to purplish gray or gray reaction.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal; growing alone, gregariously, or in small clusters under hardwoods or in mixed woods; summer and fall. In 1978, Bigelow wrote that his Massachusetts collections were "the first report of Cantharellus appalachiensis outside of North Carolina and Tennessee" (746). I can find no more recent records of the mushroom's range, but I have collected it in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Kentucky. I suspect that "from the Mississippi River valley eastward" would be a good guess at the range of the species.

Cap: 1-5 cm; convex with an inrolled margin, becoming broadly convex or flat with an inrolled, uplifted, or irregular-wavy margin; shallowly depressed in the middle at maturity, but the disc not becoming perforated; bald or with tiny pressed-down fibers; moist; brown at first, but soon developing yellow undertones and eventually becoming yellowish to yellowish brown overall, with a brown spot over the disc.

Undersurface: With well developed false gills; yellow throughout development; often with cross-veins at maturity.

Stem: 1.5-5 cm long; up to about 1 cm thick; fairly slender; tapering downward; more or less bald; brown at first and remaining brownish or yellow-brown; fleshy but becoming partially hollow at the core.

Flesh: Pale or brownish; unchanging when sliced.

Odor and Taste: Odor fragrant, like apricots; taste not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: Flesh and undersurface dull red with iron salts.

Spore Print: Buff.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7.5-9 x 4.5-5.5 µ; smooth; more or less elliptical; inamyloid; yellowish in KOH. Basidia 50-70 x 5-10 µ; 4-6-sterigmate. Terminal elements of pileus surface subclavate to clavate; 40-65 x 9-15 µ; hyaline to ochraceous in KOH; clamped.

REFERENCES: Petersen, 1971. (Bigelow, 1978; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006; Kuo, 2007.) Herb. Kuo 07079402, 07010303, 07140312, 07220301, 07010801, 07210905.


Cantharellus appalachiensis

Cantharellus appalachiensis

Cantharellus appalachiensis

Cantharellus appalachiensis
Iron Salts

Cantharellus appalachiensis
Spore Print

Cantharellus appalachiensis

Cantharellus appalachiensis
Basidium (x 2.5 µ)

Cantharellus appalachiensis
Terminal Elements of Pileus Surface

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Kuo, M. (2006, February). Cantharellus appalachiensis. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: