Collection location: Big Lagoon, Humboldt Co., California, USA [Click for map]
“False chanterelles” found in coastal Sitka spruce dominated forest. Growing on wood debris. Orange gills that fork midway were the key identifying feature. Spore print white. These were about 3" tall with a tomentose brown pileus, however there were many other H. aurantiaca that were entirely orange and others with solid brown stipes. All keyed to H. aurantiaca and had white spores and forking orange gills. Either there is a lot of phenotypic variation in this species or it is a group of some sort.
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Maria; your experience with the two very different looking H.aurantiaca is the exact same situation I ran into about a week ago. They look so different I just do not believe they are the same guys. The smaller bright orange fading to yellow false chanterelle that I saw were much smaller and there were lots of them whereas the much bigger fungi that look just like what you have here were darker, vase shaped with a much darker and redder stipe. Hard for me to believe the DNA of the two could be without some real differences.