Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Craterellus - Horn of Plenty

Family: Cantharellaceae [E-flora]

Craterelles are the thinner cousins of true chanterelles (Cantharellus). During the last century, craterelles were distinguished from true chanterelles based on the presence or absence of clamp connections (Distinctive microscopic structures) on the hyphae, whether the stem is hollow or solid, and the presence or absence of yellow carotenoid pigments (table 1) (Corner 1966, Donk 1964, Fries 1874, Jülich 1984, Patouillard 1900, Pegler and others 1997, Petersen 1971b, Romagnesi 1995, Watling and Turnbull 1998). [USDA 2003]
Recent DNA analyses support Cantharellus and Craterellus as separate and independent (Dahlman and others 2000, Feibelman and others 1997, Pine and others 1999) but do not confirm visible characters as consistently useful for differentiating the two genera. [USDA 2003]
Hollowness of the stem is now considered the most useful feature for distinguishing these genera in the absence of a microscope or DNA probes.[USDA 2003]

"The mushrooms in the genera Cantharellus and Craterellus have fairly well defined caps and stems, or are vase-shaped to trumpet-shaped. Their spore-bearing surfaces occur on the underside of the cap (or the "outer" side of the "vase"), and range from smooth to wrinkled, to furrowed so regularly and deeply that the wrinkles look like gills--but are actually false gills, rather than blade-like or plate-like structures that are clearly separate from the rest of the cap. Most, if not all, of the species appear to be mycorrhizal, and chanterelles and trumpets are distributed across North America--although there appears to be more species diversity east of the Rocky Mountains." []

"Not too long ago, the genera Craterellus and Cantharellus were separated on the basis of the thickness of the flesh (very thin for Craterellus, thin to thick for Cantharellus) and on the presence (Cantharellus) or absence (Craterellus) of clamp connections between the hyphae. Bigelow's 1978 treatment of chanterelles and trumpets from New England is a good example. But DNA studies, beginning around the turn of the century, upset the traditional scheme; now the presence of clamp connections does not indicate one or the other genus, and Craterellus has been amended to include several thin-fleshed species that were formerly placed in Cantharellus." []

Local Species;

"Since Fries (1874), Patouillard (1900), Donk (1964) and Corner's (1966) classical monograph on cantharelloid fungi, Petersen (1971) and Romagnesi (1995) have revised the family Cantharellaceae using classical microscopic and chemical characters. However, recent sequence analysis of the nuclear large subunit rDNA by Feibelman et al. (1997) revealed only two valid genera within Cantharellaceae in North America and Europe (Cantharellus and Craterellus). In general Cantharellus contains species with fleshy sporocarps, while Craterellus species have thin and leathery sporocarps with dark pigments." [Cairney EF]

"Many European countries include Cantharellus spp. and Craterellus spp. in their red lists of endangered species (Arnolds 1995; Larsson 1997). " [Cairney EF]

"Cantharellus lateritius (Craterellus cantharellus), the Smooth Chanterelle (Edible). Summer and fall....pore print pale salmon to pinkish yellow. Usually occurs in scattered groups of a few to many individuals in open woods, often beneath oaks. The Smooth Chanterelle resembles the Golden Chanterelle, Cantharellus cibarius, but lacks gills on the lower surface of the cap, where the flesh is smooth or very faintly veined. Some mycologists attribute to the Smooth Chanterelle a fruity, apricotlike fragrance." [CEPMNE Fergus]

"The Black Trumpet, Craterellus fallax, is also a choice edible; it looks very similar to the Horn of Plenty but has a more fragrant odor and produces a pale yellow or pink spore print." [CEPMNE Fergus]

Craterellus cornucopioides - Horn of Plenty

"Craterellus cornucopioides is easily recognized by its small, dark grey to blackish funnel-shaped fruiting body and tendency to fruit in clusters. Finding it in the field, however, can be a challenge. Its diminutive size and somber color allow it to blend remarkably well into its surroundings. Many mushroom hunters describe searching for black chanterelles as looking for small black holes in the ground." [Mykoweb]

Taxonomy "An early molecular study (Dahlman et al., 2000) synonymized Craterellus fallax with the European species Craterellus cornucopioides, but the study was based on a single gene (the large subunit of RNA, known as LSU) that has since been re-evaluated as useful for determining large taxonomic units (families, genera, species groups) but not generally reliable for the determination of individual species. A more recent study (Matheny et al., 2010) used an additional gene (the internally transcribed spacer, or ITS) that is considered more reliable for species-level analysis, and determined that Craterellus fallax is indeed a separate species. The genetic difference is accompanied by a difference in the color of the spore print; Craterellus fallax has a yellowish to orangish print, while Europe's Craterellus cornucopioides has a white print. The West-Coast version of the black trumpet, which has a whitish to creamy spore print, is Craterellus species 01." []

"This West-Coast version of the "black trumpet" is different in several important ways from eastern North America's Craterellus fallax. It is a bit more robust than its eastern counterpart, and its spore print is whitish or creamy, rather than pinkish orange. Its upper surface also tends to be darker, and to remain darker into old age--and its spores, on average, are a bit smaller. It is currently going under the name of the European species Craterellus cornucopioides. According to a recent paper by Matheny and collaborators (2010), LSU sequences are inconclusive on whether the West-Coast version is genetically distinct, and "careful morphological scrutiny," along with analysis of other, more species-informative genes, is required. I have collected all three versions (West Coast, eastern North American, and European) and while the West-Coast mushroom is closer in appearance and habit to the European species than the eastern North American species, it seems different to me and worthy of separate treatment--unless further molecular studies determine otherwise." []

"A pale yellow version of this species, sometimes called "Craterellus konradii," is sometimes collected... whether or not it is genetically distinct is also uncertain." []

Summary: "not a true gilled species but may have radiating decurrent wrinkles on underside of cap; features include dry funnel-shaped cap that is grayish-black to very dark brown or black when moist but paler when dry, smooth or slightly wrinkled underside, stem continuous with cap, and whitish to buff or pale yellow spore deposit; Craterellus fallax A.H. Sm. 1968 and Craterellus konradii Bourdot & Maire, previously treated as separate species, are now considered synonyms by Dahlman and others (2000), C. konradii was the name previously given to the yellow form, (Pilz); Craterellus cornucopioides reported from BC (vouchers at Pacific Forestry Center), none from Washington, relatively common in eastern North America, abundant central to northern CA coast, uncommon north of southern OR, (Pilz), found near Olympia WA, (M. Beug, pers. comm.)" [E-flora]

Cap: "2-8(10)cm across, 3-14cm high, tubular becoming trumpet-shaped or funnel-shaped, margin at first downcurved, then spreading to become wavy, split or lacerated; grayish black to very dark brown or black when moist, paler (brown to grayish brown) when dry, one form may develop yellowish margin or yellowish blotches; "not viscid, usually minutely scaly or scurfy", (Arora), up to 6cm across, trumpet-shaped to funnel-shaped; "sometimes yellow, brown, or gray, but typically very dark brown to black"; inner top surface slightly felt-like, (Pilz)" [E-flora]

Flesh: "thin, brittle but tough; colored as cap or paler, (Arora), relatively thin and tough (Pilz)" [E-flora]

Odor: "pleasant (Arora, Pilz), aromatic (Lincoff)" [E-flora] Taste mild; odor not distinctive, or somewhat sweet and fragrant.[]

Spore Deposit: "whitish to buff or pale yellow, (Arora), yellow / salmon for what has been known as C. fallax, white for C. cornucopioides when distinguished from it, (Pilz)" [E-flora] White to creamy.[]

Similar Species: "Polyozellus multiplex is dark blue to gray violet instead of brown or black, and is never hollow, (Pilz); Craterellus fallax has been distinguished in the past as a separate species: it is found in eastern North America and California and is virtually the same but has salmon-tinted underside in age from salmon or ochre-yellow spores that are longer (11-18 x 7-11 microns) under the microscope; Craterellus cinereus (wide-ranging in North America) has well-formed, forked, gill-like ridges; Craterellus sinuosus [considered a synonym of Craterellus undulatus] is widely distributed in North America and reported from California but rare and has a gray to dark grayish brown cap, slightly larger spores than C. cinereus, and a veined or copiously wrinkled underside that is grayish acquiring a yellowish or ochre tinge as spores mature, (Arora); Craterellus foetidus, an eastern species, has a sickeningly sweet odor, veined undersurface, and thick stem ( 1-3cm at top), (Arora)" [E-flora]
Craterellus cornucopioides makes a white spore print. Cantharellus cinereus has blunt, forked gills. Both are called black trumpets, too. Both are edible and taste similar to Craterellus fallax. It’s hard to confuse black trumpets with any other mushrooms. You can easily learn to identify them by yourself, if you have some descriptive guidebooks with good illustrations.[FGWMP Russell]

Habitat/Range: "Mycorrhizal with hardwoods and, less frequently, with conifers; growing scattered, gregariously, or (usually) in tightly packed clusters, often in mossy areas; summer and fall; widely distributed in Europe. The illustrated and described collection is from northern Italy." []

"Scattered, gregarious to clustered in mixed hardwood and coniferous forests from midwinter to spring. Especially common underand Lithocarpus densiflorus (tanbark oak) and Arbutus menziesii (madrone), but also Quercus agrifolia (ive oak)." [Mykoweb]

"scattered or in groups or close clusters often arising from a common base in humus or soil, under conifers or hardwoods; beginning in late fall in southern Oregon and continuing on into early winter and late spring in California, (Pilz), June to early winter in Europe (Bacon), spring, summer, fall, winter" [E-flora]

Season horn of plenty (Craterellus cornucopioides) sedom shows up before Christmas, [MushDemyst]

Status: Native [E-flora]


good.[E-flora] edible [Atkinson] (Edible). Summer and fall. Highly prized for its excellent flavor.[CEPM Fergus] Excellent, fresh or dried. [FGWMP Russell]
One of my fifteen "five favorite flavorful fleshy fungal fructifications." Like myself, it is thin, tough, and dark, and like myself, it goes largely unappreciated. It is forever being passed up in favor of the larger, fleshier, more colorful and impressive types, yet its flavor is superb and its potential unlimited. It is partly to blame for this sad state of affairs, for its appearance is admittedly drab and rather somber, and it shuns attention, blending unobtrusively into the dark, secretive situations where it thrives. But though it takes an accomplished eye to detect its presence in the woods (from the top it looks like a hole in the ground), anyone can detect its presence in a dish-for it cooks up black, announcing itself with unmistakable earthy authenticity. It can play any culinary position with equal finesse, from first base to second fiddle, enhancing practically any dish, be it soup, souffle, or sauce. Like its more popular cousin the chanterelle, it is not often inhabited by maggots. Dried and powdered it has a cheesy odor and is known, quite appropriately, as ..Poor People's Truffle."[MushDemyst] "Edible and choice, worth collecting the many fruiting bodies necessary to make a meal. This very flavorful fungus is wonderful fresh or dried." [Mykoweb]


  1. [E-flora] Craterellus cornucopioides, Species account author: Ian Gibson. Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest. Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2013. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia ( Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Accessed: 7/20/2014 & August 22, 2021
  2. [] Kuo, M.Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com, Accessed August 22, 2021
  3. [Mykoweb], Accessed March 13, 2015, August 22, 2021
  4. [USDA 2003] Ecology and Management of Commercially Harvested Chanterelle Mushrooms, David Pilz, Lorelei Norvell, Eric Danell, and Randy Molina, USDA Forest Service General Technical Report, March 2003

Craterellus tubaeformis - Yellow Foot

"Craterellus tubaeformis is a small chanterelle with a brown cap, well developed false gills that often develop grayish shades, and a yellow stem with a waxy surface. It is usually found in moss, primarily in the cold conifer bogs of northern and montane North America--and it is not uncommon to find it fruiting from very well decayed, moss-covered logs." []

Summary: "Also listed in Veined category. Craterellus tubaeformis is recognized by the yellow-brown chanterelle-like fruiting body, hollow yellow-brown stem, and the underside of the cap which has radiating vein-like folds and is colored yellowish to grayish brown or violet gray. The name Craterellus neotubaeformis nom. prov. is used for this species by Pilz(1) because it is not considered to be the same species as the European taxon. Features of C. neotubaeformis include modest size, dark brown to dingy yellow-brown cap, yellowish to gray or purple-tinged gills, slender hollow yellow to yellow-orange stem, and white spores. Some molecular evidence (Dahlman(1)) indicates that the Pacific Northwest species may not be the same as the one found in Europe and eastern North America. Cantharellus infundibuliformis (see SIMILAR) is usually considered a synonym and this synonymy is maintained by Dahlman(1). C. tubaeformis is common. It has been found at least in WA, OR (Smith's description is from OR), ID, CA, (Castellano), and AK (Pilz). There are collections from BC at the University of British Columbia." [E-flora]

Cap: "2-8cm across, convex, soon flat to depressed, funnel-shaped in center, margin inrolled and wavy; deep yellow to yellow brown, paler when old, (Phillips), 1-3(5)cm across, convex to flat or broadly depressed and with an arched incurved margin at first, margin finally spreading or uplifted and becoming crenate [scalloped] to variously lobed, occasionally somewhat funnel-shaped when old, often becoming perforated in disc when old; dark sordid yellowish brown, at times more or less sordid ochraceous; moist, more or less uneven, at times with radial ridges ending in scabrous points, sometimes quite rough, sometimes practically bald, (Smith)" [E-flora]

Flesh: "pallid yellow, (Phillips), thin, membranous, fragile; yellowish to avellaneous, (Smith)" [E-flora]

Gills: "decurrent, narrow, vein-like folds, irregularly branched; yellowish to gray-violet, (Phillips), decurrent, subdistant, narrow and fold-like, dichotomously forked; yellowish gray to grayish brown, often pale drab when old, (Smith)" [E-flora]

Stem: "2.5-8cm x 0.4-1cm, hollow, often flattened, often grooved; yellow to dull yellow-orange, (Phillips), 3-6cm x 0.3-0.7cm, more or less equal, stuffed but becoming hollow and flabby, often flattened or furrowed; dark to pale ochraceous in upper part, usually whitish at base; bald, (Smith)" [E-flora]

Odor: "pleasant (Phillips), not distinctive (Smith)" [E-flora]

Spore Deposit: "white (Phillips), white to creamy white in thick deposits (Smith, but see also SIMILAR), white to creamy white (Castellano), white to buff (Miller)" [E-flora]

Similar Species: "Several species may have similarly colored cap and decurrent gills (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca, Chrysomphalina chrysophylla, some Hygrocybe species) but they are thin true gills rather than ridges, (Pilz). Cantharellus infundibuliformis was said to have darker cap, duller stem, cream to yellowish spore deposit, but is regarded as a synonym." [E-flora]

Comments "This diminutive member of the chanterelle clan is recognized by a yellowish-brown, trumpet-shaped, sometimes hollow fruiting body, and blunt-edged widely spaced gills. Craterellus tubaeformis appears well after the start of the mushroom season with peak fruitings in January and February, thus one of its common names: winter chanterelle.
There has long been much debate about whether this species belongs in the genus Cantharellus or the genus Craterellus. Recent molecular evidence shows that it belongs in Craterellus. The molecular evidence also indicates that we may not have the "real" Craterellus tubaeformis of Europe and the Eastern United States. This means our west coast species may eventually get a new name. Craterellus neotubaeformis has been suggested as a possible replacement name." [Mykoweb]

Habitat / Range "often in large groups in wet mossy bogs, (Phillips), cespitose [in tufts] to gregarious, on wet soil, "often along streams or near springs or in bogs under conifers", (Smith), "on wet soil, often along streams or near springs or in bogs under conifers", "also juxtaposed to rotten logs", fall through winter, (Castellano), "usually found scattered to clustered on well-decayed wood", "or sometimes in soil and humus, near the roots of living trees and around stumps"; generally November to May, (Pilz), occurrence in northwestern Oregon is highly correlated with the presence of Tsuga heterophylla (Western Hemlock) with which it forms mycorrhizae; mycorrhizae also formed with Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) and Picea sitchensis (Sitka spruce), but it is encountered only rarely in stands without hemlock component, (Trappe, M.), summer and fall (Miller), spring, summer, fall, winter" [E-flora] "Scattered to clustered on soil, moss, and rotten wood in conifer woods during mid-winter." [Mykoweb]

"Similarly, some edible mushrooms, such as the winter chanterelle of western North America (Craterellus tubaeformis (Fries) Quélet), seem to grow best in dense moist forests with ample quantities of well-rotted coarse woody debris (Trappe, 2004) whereas others, such as the Japanese matsutake, fruit best in open pine forests with little understorey vegetation and thin litter layers (Hosford et al, 1997)." [A.B. Cunningham]

"Mycorrhizal with conifers (including western hemlock, Douglas-fir, and Sitka spruce); growing gregariously or in loose clusters; usually growing from well-decayed woody debris (88% of the time, according to a 2004 study by Trappe); winter and spring; northern California to Alaska." []

Status: Native [E-flora]


"good (Phillips), Persson & Karlsson-Stiber reported in 1993 that consuming C. tubaeformis with alcohol might in rare instances cause negative reactions (Pilz)" [E-flora] Edible and excellent..[Mykoweb] edible [Atkinson]


"DNA results from several studies support the idea that this West-Coast version of Craterellus tubaeformis is genetically distinct, and merits status as a separate species (see the extended discussion on the linked page for details). Like the eastern North American and European species, the West-Coast "tubie" features a yellow stem with a waxy surface, a brown cap, and well developed false gills that are often grayish at maturity. In fact it is not clear at the moment whether there are any morphological features that actually serve to separate the West-Coast species--but a careful study of many well-documented collections may be able to find something some day." []

"The name "Craterellus neotubaeformis" was applied as a provisional name by Pilz and collaborators (2003) to the species discussed here, but the name has not been validly published." []


  1. [E-flora]Craterellus tubaeformis, Species account author: Ian Gibson. Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest. n Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia []. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2021-08-22]
  2. [] Kuo, M., Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site, Accessed August 22, 2021
  3. [Mykoweb] Accessed March 13, 2015 & August 22, 2021
  4. [USDA 2003] Ecology and Management of Commercially Harvested Chanterelle Mushrooms, David Pilz, Lorelei Norvell, Eric Danell, and Randy Molina, USDA Forest Service General Technical Report, March 2003

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