- Stream, Inlets & Lakes
- Frogs, Toads & Salamanders
- Marine Creatures
- Puget Sound Sea Life
- Non‐Native ‐ Invasive Wildlife
The chanterelle’s aroma is described as apricot or peach-like.
The Elusive but Delectable Chanterelle
The days begin to cool and the nights are often filled with the light rain of early autumn. You venture out into the deep woods, a carpet of needles beneath your feet. You breathe in the rich, moist humus smell of fallen leaves, moss and soil. Quietly, you scan the forest floor… the hunt is on. Ah, there it is… its funnel-shaped bright golden cap practically glistening through the leaf litter. The elusive chanterelle!
Chanterelles are fungi but are not a true gilled mushroom. The cap is fleshy, the wavy rounded cap margins tapering downward to meet the stem. The gills are not the usual thin straight panels hanging from the lower surface of the cap but have rounded ridges that are shallow and widely spaced. At the edge of the cap, they are forked and interconnected. The chanterelle’s aroma is described as apricot or peach-like.
Like all mushrooms, chanterelles favor moist, rich organic conditions, and usually emerge after a period of extended rain. Fungi feed on plant material and release nutrients, which, in turn, are used by other plants. The fruiting season for these chanterelles begins in May and continues through October. During the autumn season, they become difficult to find, as they are hidden beneath the bright fall leaves that litter the forest floor. But, they are worth the hunt!
Mycofiltration is a form of filtration using fungi (mushrooms) to clean polluted waters. Mycofiltration has been developed by local expert Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti, using fungal mycelium as a biological filter to remove harmful bacteria such as E. coli from agricultural runoff.
Some fungi species are notorious for absorbing and concentrating pollutants such as petroleum-based chemicals and heavy metals. These fungi are purposely used to treat stormwater runoff to remove pollutants. So, how does this work? Fungi have networks of underground mycelium that produce enzymes that break down hydrogen and carbon chains, which effectively eliminates petroleum-based toxins carried by stormwater.
Although mushrooms are delectable, you should avoid harvesting mushrooms that grow along busy roads or other contaminated areas such as stormwater ponds because the fungus absorbs and concentrates heavy metals and toxins in the fruiting body. Remember to follow the five important rules to eating wild mushrooms!
Eating Wild Mushrooms: 5 Important Rules
- Always be 100% sure of identification.
- Always cook your mushrooms thoroughly.
- Only eat a small amount when trying a new type of mushroom.
- Only try one type of mushroom at a time, and wait 24 hours for any reactions.
- Only eat mushrooms that are in good condition.