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Cantharellus subalbidus

[ Basidiomycota > Cantharellales > Cantharellaceae > Cantharellus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Cantharellus subalbidus is a large, white to whitish chanterelle found in the conifer forests of northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Its surfaces often bruise yellowish to orangish when handled, or with age--and its odor is usually fragrant and sweet. Specimens that have well-developed false gills can appear almost like clitocyboid mushrooms--but the latter possess true gills that are readily separable from the caps.

A study by Dunham and collaborators (2006) revealed that Cantharellus subalbidus is much more likely to appear in old-growth forests that have stood for hundreds of years, and less likely to appear in second-growth forests (about 40-60 years old) that represent regeneration after clear cutting. The authors offer two possible explanations: "The reduced odds of finding C. subalbidus in SG [second-growth forests] indicate that they did not persist following logging and that the biological, physical or chemical characteristics of the soil or competition from other newly establishing species are limiting its re-establishment in young stands. Alternatively, C. subalbidus may be able to establish mycelia in young stands, but subsequently experience suppressed fruiting until OG [old-growth] characteristics begin to develop" (1436).


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with conifers--especially Douglas-fir; growing alone or scattered; fall and winter; Pacific Northwest and northern California. The illustrated and described collections are from California and Oregon.

Cap: 5-10 cm; broadly convex to flat, developing a central depression and becoming irregularly shaped in age; the margin becoming uplifted and wavy to lobed; bald or nearly felty when when young, sometimes becoming cracked or finely scaly with age; dry; white to whitish, bruising and discoloring yellowish to orangish.

Undersurface: With false gills that run down the stem; often with forking or cross-veins or, in some specimens, elaborately corrugated and irregular; white, bruising and discoloring yellowish to orangish.

Stem: 2-5 cm long; 1-2.5 cm thick; tapering to base; solid; white, bruising and discoloring yellowish to orangish.

Flesh: White; sometimes discoloring yellowish where exposed.

Odor and Taste: Odor fragrant; taste not distinctive, or peppery.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 6-8.5 x 4-5 µ; ellipsoid; smooth; hyaline to faintly ochraceous in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 45-65 µ long; 4-sterigmate. Elements from cap surface 5-10 µ wide; smooth; hyaline to yellowish; clamped; terminal cells cylindric, with rounded apices.

REFERENCES: Smith & Morse, 1947. (Corner, 1966; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Thiers, 1985; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Pilz et al., 2003; Miller & Miller, 2006; Kuo, 2007; Trudell & Ammirati, 2009.) Herb. Kuo 10171304.

Thanks to Laurence Boomer for collecting, documenting, and preserving some of the illustrated and described specimens. Thanks to Ron Pastorino for his photo of Cantharellus subalbidus in nature.

Further Online Information:

Cantharellus subalbidus at MykoWeb
Cantharellus subalbidus at Roger's Mushrooms


Cantharellus subalbidus

Cantharellus subalbidus

Cantharellus subalbidus

Cantharellus subalbidus

Cantharellus subalbidus

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Kuo, M. (2015, February). Cantharellus subalbidus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: