Quick facts

Common names: chanterelle, girolle

Scientific name: Cantharellus cibarius

Family: Cantharellaceae

Fruiting season: July to December

Habitat: coniferous forests and broadleaved woodland

What does chanterelle look like?

Chanterelle is the common name for several species of wild, edible fungi in the Cantharellaceae family. They appear between summer and late autumn in woodlands and have a fruity aroma when first picked.

Cap: funnel-shaped, wavy and smooth. It has an orange or yellow colour, and on the underside gill-like ridges run all the way down to the stipe.

Gills: fake gills run along the outside of the cap.

Stipe (stalk): smooth and the same colour as the cap.

Spores: yellow to cream.

Not to be confused with: false chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) or jack-o’-lanterns (Omphalotus olearius, Omphalotus illudens, Omphalotus olivascens), both of which are poisonous.

Credit: Stefan Holm / Alamy Stock Photo

Where to find chanterelle

Chanterelles are common but localised in the UK. They grow in coniferous forests in mossy areas or in broadleaved forests. In Scotland, chanterelle forms mycorrhizal (mutually beneficial) associations with birch and pine.

Did you know?

Chanterelles are high in Vitamin C and D and very high in potassium.

Mythology and symbolism

Records show chanterelles were being eaten as early as the 16th century and their popularity amongst the nobility as the influence of French cuisine spread meant they became a symbol of wealth. Even today they can be very expensive as they are only available in the wild and cannot be farmed commercially.

Credit: Laurie Campbell / WTML

Uses of chanterelle

Chanterelle is eaten widely and can be very expensive. It is considered a gourmet fungus by many chefs because of its delicate flavour and succulent texture. It also has medicinal qualities, particularly antibacterial and antiviral properties and contains eight essential amino acids. It also has anti-oxidant properties and contains compounds that help with improving liver function, reducing cholesterol levels, treating thrombosis, and fighting cancer-causing agents.

Did you know?

Its scientific name is derived from the Greek ‘kantharos’, meaning tankard or cup – a reference to their shape.

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