Public Description of Cantharellus subalbidus A.H. Sm. & Morse

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Name: Cantharellus subalbidus A.H. Sm. & Morse
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Description status: Unreviewed

Taxonomic Classification:

Domain: Eukarya
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Cantharellales
Family: Hydnaceae

General Description:

“Mushrooms up to 14 cm across, relatively compact, cream to ivory colored overall; cap generally darkening to a pale buff color when old or water soaked, entire mushroom becoming dark orange or rust color when very dry; hymenium of generally well-separated and long ridges, extending from the cap well down the solid stem; flesh firm, dense, cream colored, and slowly staining dull yellow when handled; odor pleasant, in fresh specimens reminiscent of apricots (contrary to Smith and Morse’s original description3); taste usually peppery when raw. Spore print white. Under the microscope: basidiospores ellipsoid, smooth, colorless, 7 to 9 × 5 to 5.5 µm; clamp connections abundant in all tissues.”1 (footnote added).

Diagnostic Description:

“Similar mushrooms—After harvest, white chanterelles [Cantherellus subalbidus] can be confused with Pacific golden chanterelles [C. formosus] because with handling the whites tend to yellow and darken, and the goldens lose color as they dry. Additionally, in the forest, golden chanterelles are sometimes pale to almost white when sheltered from light under duff or debris. Among chanterelles that might also be mistaken for white chanterelles are an unnamed British Columbia species that is very similar to the European pale chanterelle, C. pallens (Redhead and others 1997), and another reported by Thiers (1985) as C. cibarius var. pallidifolius from under tanbark oaks in California.”1

“Microscopic characteristics of C. cibarius, C. formosus, C. subalbidus differ little. Spores, basidia and tramal hyphae are all virtually identical. Cantharellus subalbidus can be distinguished in dried herbarium material by its pale cap surface and thick cap and stem context, but virtually no separating characters exist to reliably separate C. formosus from other possible taxa in the Pacific Northwest.”2


Pacific Northwest and northern California.
“[E]ndemic to coastal and montane forests of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. They commonly fruit in late summer and early fall in mature to old forests.”1
“Common and widely distributed in northwestern North American including northern Idaho.”2


Under conifers, common under Douglas Fir
“apparently mycorrhizal with Douglas-fir and hemlocks … endemic to coastal and montane forests”1

Look Alikes:

See Diagnostic Description above.




1 D. Pilz, L. Norvell, E. Danell, R. Molina, Ecology and management of commercially harvested chanterelle mushrooms, Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-576 (2003). Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 83 p.

2 M. Castellano, E. Cazares, B. Fondrick, T. Dreisbach, Handbook to additional fungal species of special concern in the Northwest Forest Plan,USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, General Technical Report PNW-GTR-572 (2003)

3 Smith, A.H.; Morse, E.E. 1947. “The genus Cantharellus in the western United States,” Mycologia. 39: 497–534, 510

Index Fungorum Record 284793


Citations in published lists or literature: Index of Fungi 1: 226

Cantharellaceae, Cantharellales, Incertae sedis, Agaricomycetes, Agaricomycotina, Basidiomycota

Description author: walt sturgeon (Request Authorship Credit)
Description editor: Joseph D. Cohen