What You Should Know
Very closely related to the popular edible fungus Cantharellus cibarius and equally delectable, this purple or violet-tinged chanterelle is a rare to occasional find. It usually grows under hardwood trees, particularly oaks.
Certain specimens of this mushroom can look stunning, others have a subtle hue where it is almost unnoticeable.
Other names: Amethyst Chanterelle.
Cantharellus amethysteus Mushroom Identification
The cap, of diameter up to 10cm, is initially flat-topped but usually becomes centrally depressed and often develops an irregular wavy margin. Background color varies from light yellow to deep egg-yolk yellow but with an overlying purplish or amethyst scaly layer, generally paler towards the downturned or inrolled margin.
Not strictly gills at all, yellow wrinkled veins on the underside of the cap comprise the fertile (spore-producing) surface. The veins are very thick and decurrent, extending well down the stem; they are straight near to the stem but forked and more sinuate towards the edge of the cap. The stem is usually somewhat paler than the cap, 1 - 2cm in diameter, often no more than 2cm long, and merging into the cap.
Ellipsoidal, smooth, 8-10 x 5-6µm; inamyloid; hyaline (translucent and glass-like) in KOH.
Pale yellow, sometimes with a slight pinkish tinge.
Odor and Taste
The faint odor of apricots; taste (uncooked) not distinctive.
Habitat & Ecological Role
This ectomycorrhizal species can usually be seen fruiting in small groups in deciduous forests, often with oaks, beeches or birches. Very occasionally these mushrooms are found under pines.
June to October.
The Chanterelle Cantharellus cibarius has a yellow or golden cap.
Cantharellus amethysteus Taxonomy and Etymology
Given its currently accepted scientific name in 1887 by Italian mycologist Pier Andrea Saccardo, this woodland mushroom was first described scientifically by the famous French mycologist Lucien Quélet, who initially treated it as a variety of the golden chanterelle of summertime, naming it Cantharellus cibarius var. amethysteus.
Synonyms of Cantharellu amethysteus (Quél.) Sacc., include Cantharellus cibarius var. amethysteus Quél., Craterellus amethysteus (Quél.) Quél., and Cantharellus amethysteus var. substypticus Bon.
The generic name Cantharellus is derived from the Latin word cantharus (originally from the Greek 'kantharos') meaning a drinking vessel (usually with handles), a bowl or a chalice. The Greek noun kantharos was applied to (among other things) an ancient Greek clay vessel which, in turn, was so named for its resemblance to a red-tinged scarab beetle of the same name.
The specific epithet amethysteus refers, of course, to the purplish-lilac (amethyst) coloring of scales on the upper surface of caps of these mushrooms.
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