Oregon State Mushroom

Pacific Golden Chanterelle

Pacific Golden Chanterelle

(Cantharellus formosus)

Adopted in 1999.

The 1999 Legislature designated the Pacific Golden Chanterelle, (Cantharellus formosus) as the Official State Mushroom.

Dr. Kevin Winthrop decided Oregon needed a state mushroom. Winthrop and his legislator friend, Chris Beck to start the process for HJR 68.

Enlisting Jack Czarnecki, famed mushroom chef of Joel Palmer House fame, Lorelei Norvell, OMS's Ph.D mycologist, and Maggie Rogers, co-editor, Mushroom the Journal of Wild Mushrooming, the group met twice with legislators in early-morning hearings. Dr. Winthrop contacted some of his colleagues to call and urge passage of the bill. By the second hearing, they had their charts and factoids together. Photographs, a review of the OMS Chanterelle Study, market value of the harvest, nutrient values, and recipes! "The Pacific Golden Chanterelle, unique in Oregon's wild mushroom harvest: Cantharellus formosus, formerly thought to be Cantharellus cibarius."

They recommended it, and two senators volunteered to bipartisan support on the floor. When the other legislators urged moving on to "more important things," Chairman Charles Starr demurred, saying, "These people came all this way from Portland, and I think they have some interesting things to share with us." They did, and in spite of the media, became "The chanterelle's harvest is a peaceful harvest." The headline in the June 22, 1999 Oregonian read: "Fungi move faster than fiscal issues in Capitol." A tongue-in-cheek letter to the editor of the Statesman Journal was headed, "Mushroom measure wastes legislative time," and ended, "I will rise each morning with a song of mushroom praise warming my heart." By one vote, the bill passed.

Oregon State Mushroom:
Pacific Golden Chanterelle

Pacific Golden Chanterelle

Cantharellus formosus, commonly known as the pacific golden chanterelle, is a fungus native to the Pacific Northwest region of North America. It is a member of the genus Cantharellus along with other popular edible chanterelles. It was distinguished from the similar C. cibarius of Europe in the 1990s. It is orange to yellow, meaty and funnel-shaped. On the underside of the smooth cap, it has gill-like ridges that run down onto its stipe, which tapers down seamlessly from the cap. The false gills often have a pinkish hue. It has a mild, sweet odor. It is solitary to gregarious in coniferous forests, fruiting from July to December.

The pacific golden chanterelle is the most important commercially harvested Cantharellus species in the Pacific Northwest. This chanterelle has been designated Oregon's state mushroom, due to its economic value and abundance.

Characteristics Oregon's Pacific Golden Chanterelle

(Cantharellus formosus) formerly C. cibarius & close relatives) are the best known wild mushrooms on the West Coast. The lovely, yellow-orange mushrooms have a fruity fragrance and chewy texture. They are found throughout the world, are nearly always sold fresh, and can be refrigerated for up to a month after picking. The fall crop from the coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest is legendary. A slightly different species is abundant in the oak woodlands of California during the winter. In the summer, fresh chanterelles originate from Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and eastern Europe.

Fruiting bodies of C. formosus range from 2-14 cm (0.79-5.51 in) wide, with cap colors varying depending on light levels and weather. In dry weather, the cap is medium orange yellow to light yellow brown, but wet weather may brighten the cap to brilliant to soft orange yellow. In low light conditions, caps may not develop the yellow pigmentation, resulting in salmon to rosy buff colors. The false gills may be yellow, salmon, buff, or even whitish depending on conditions, but are usually paler than the cap. The stem is colored similarly to the cap, and is either equal-width or tapering downwards. The spore print is a yellowish white color.

The Chanterelle is a wild, but edible mushroom. Because of the high culinary value, approximately 500,000 pounds are harvested each year. Harvest occurs during the months of September, and October. In years with long, and wet falls; Chantrelle Mushrooms produce several harvests.

Chanterelle Mushrooms are often times found under a canopy of conifers; better known as Douglas Firs, and Western Hemlocks.

There are three major characteristics to look for when looking for "Pacific Golden Chanterelle" mushrooms.

  1. The first characteristic is the graceful vase-shaped stalk which terminates with a flat cap,
  2. the second is the rich yellowish/orange color of the mushroom, and the
  3. third is the "false gills" which are blunt, and shallow; unlike the blade-like "true gills" seen on most mushrooms.

The third characteristic of the "Pacific Golden Chanterelle" is probably the most important of all. This character will allow you to tell the difference between the true chanterelle, and the false chanterelle which bears true, thin, blade-like gills.


Cantharus (Latin) and kantharos (Greek) meaning, beaker or vessel; formosus (Latin) meaning graceful, lovely, shapely, beautifully formed.

Oregon House Joint Resolution 68 - Oregon Laws 1999

Oregon House Joint Resolution 68 - Oregon Laws 1999
Session Law
Whereas the State of Oregon is internationally renowned for producing an abundance of wild, edible fungi of high culinary value; and
Whereas the Pacific golden chanterelle is unique to the Pacific Northwest and found in prodigious quantities in Oregon; and
Whereas the Pacific golden chanterelle is coveted for its culinary, nutritional and medicinal value; and
Whereas the more than 500,000 pounds of Pacific golden chanterelles harvested annually represent a large portion of Oregon's commercial mushroom business; and
Whereas most of the Pacific golden chanterelles are exported to foreign markets; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon:
That the Pacific golden chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus) is recognized as and hereby is designated to be the official mushroom of the State of Oregon.
Filed in the office of Secretary of State July 2, 1999

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Pacific Golden Chanterelle

Kingdom: Fungi --
Phylum: Basidiomycota
Class: Gasteromycetes
Order: Cantharellales
Family: Cantharellaceae
Genus: Cantharellus
Species: Cantharellus formosus

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