Major Groups > Chanterelles and Trumpets > Craterellus aurora


Craterellus aurora

[ Basidiomycetes > Cantharellales > Craterellus . . . ]

Taxonomy in Transition: Canth/Crat Clade > Craterellus "lutescens"

by Michael Kuo

Craterellus aurora is a small chanterelle found in moss and sphagnum in conifer bogs, or in low, wet hardwood forests. Its cap is brownish, but the color results from tightly appressed brown fibrils that begin to stretch out as the cap grows, revealing the yellowish or orangish base color below. The crucial identifying feature of Craterellus aurora is the under side of the cap, which is smooth, slightly wrinkled, or broadly veined--but does not feature well developed false gills. Craterellus tubaeformis is very similar, but features false gills and is often a little larger.

Your field guide probably lists the species I am treating here as "Cantharellus xanthopus" or Cantharellus lutescens"; see the comments below the description if you care about the name change.


Ecology: Saprobic and/or mycorrhizal; growing alone or gregariously in moss or sphagnum in conifer bogs, and under hardwoods in damp, shady areas; apparently limited to eastern North America, and more common from the Great Lakes northward; summer and fall.

Cap: Up to 7 cm wide (but usually smaller, between 2 and 4 cm wide); convex when very young but soon developing a central depression and, eventually, becoming perforated in the center and vase-shaped overall; with a wavy and often irregular margin at maturity; slightly sticky or waxy when fresh; covered with tiny brown fibrils that are tightly adherent, creating a brown surface when the mushroom is young but becoming streaked-looking with maturity as the fibrils separate to reveal the yellowish or orangish base color.

Undersurface: Smooth to wrinkled or veined (especially near the cap edge), but without well developed false gills; creamy to pale yellow; running down the stem.

Stem: Up to 5 cm long; to 1 cm thick; equal or tapering to base; becoming hollow; smooth; yellow or orange.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Spore Print: Whitish or pale yellow.

Microscopic Features: Spores 9-11 x 6-7.5 µ elliptical; smooth.

REFERENCES: Cantharellus aurora: (Batsch, 1783) Kuyper, 1991. (Corner, 1966; Smith, 1968; Bigelow, 1978; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Lincoff, 1992; Persson, 1997; Barron, 1999; Phillips, 1991/2005.)

I am using the species name aurora for this mushroom because "lutescens" and "xanthopus" have been synonymized by Kuyper (1991)--and the genus name Craterellus because Dahlman et al. (2000) found "Cantharellus lutescens" to belong to the "Craterellus Clade," between Craterellus tubaeformis and Craterellus cornucopioides (see the Cantharellus / Craterellus Clade for details). However, the official transfer from Cantharellus to Craterellus has not yet been published, to my knowledge.

Further Online Information:

Cantharellus xanthopus at Roger's Mushrooms


Craterellus aurora

Craterellus aurora

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