A member of the Cantharellaceae family of fungi, Cantharellus subalbidus is a relatively dry, large, fleshy, terrestrial basidiomycete. The cap is plane to broadly depressedwith margins often appearing wavy and irregular. The surface of the cap is smooth but will break into small scales as it ages. The color of the fruiting body is whitish, turning yellow-orange to orange when bruised and with age. The odor is mild, even somewhat fragrant.The underside of the cap is the fertile surface and has thick well spaced, shallow, fold-like gills. The deeply decurrent nature of the gills is characteristic of the family. The stalk is not distinctly separated from the cap, solid, 2 to 7 cm long and 1 to 5 cm thick. The fruiting body is an example of nature’s inefficiency because there is a large amount of supporting structure produced in relation the the small amount of spore producing tissue; most mushrooms have a larger spore producing area than supporting structure. The spore print produced is white.
The habitat of C. subalbidus incldues solitray fruiting bodies to scattered or gregarious clusters in the woods, frequently under second growth connifers in Washington, Oregon and California. Though often found under Pseudotsuga menziesii of Pinus flexilis trees, there is no restrictive association with tree species. The season for the fruiting bodies runs from late summer to winter, diminishing after the first hard frost. The distribution of the species includes the Pacific Northwest and California but some considerable fruiting have been found in Idaho.
C. subalbidus is one of the edible and choice species of mushrooms. It is also relatively safe to eat because it is rarely attacked by maggots. The button stage is ideal for eating as it is still firm and meaty. The larger fruiting bodies are often waterlogged and overripe. The species is regarded as on of the abest western edilbe mushrooms. There are few look-alikes for this species, including Clitocybe or Hygrophorous but inspection of the decurrent gills will show membership to Cantharellus.
Arora, D. (1986) Mushrooms Demystified. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA.
Smith, A. (1975) A Field Guide to Western Mushrooms. University of Michigan.