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The Wooly Chanterelle
Turbinellus floccosus

To eat or not to eat?

Please don't eat, especially don't in New England.



Color: orange cap with white-ish to yellow false gills

Height: up to 30 cm

Cap diameter: up to 30 cm

Spore print: brown

Edibility: toxic* with a caveat

What's in a  [common] name?

When I first came across this mushroom in the woods, I did not know what it was and assumed it was a species of Chanterelle given its color, shape, growth pattern, and false gills. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised to learn that it was first described as Cantharellus floccosus in 1934 by American mycologist, Lewis David de Schweinitz. Over the next almost 200 years, this mushroom was named, renamed, and renamed, again, again, and again. In 1909, it was briefly named Turbinellus floccosus (its current name), but this was not as widely used as its other name Gomphus floccosus. It wasn’t until 2011 that Turbinellus became its official genus, re-giving it its current official name.

Description and Ecology

Like the golden chanterelle and many other edible chanterelle species, the shaggy chanterelle is trumpet or vase shaped. It often has water or forest debris collected in the top depression, which gives it a somewhat slimy texture. The cap surface ranges in color from orange to brownish red and is sometimes scaly. The flesh is white and solid when young. It often becomes riddled with insects as they age which can be quite old relative to other fungi as these mushrooms are slow growers. The false gills are white to yellow in color and produce a brown spore print.


The shaggy chanterelle seems to form mycorrhizal associations with conifers including Douglas-firs, firs, and pines. It can be found in summer and fall across the United States, Europe, and Asia and reports have been made of its occurrence in Australia associated with imported conifers. Closely related species in the Turbinellus genus can also be found in these areas as well.


To err on the side of caution, I will say that these fungi are probably toxic and are said to have a sour taste. Specimens have been shown to contain compounds that can cause extreme gastrointestinal upset such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. They have also been shown to contain compounds such as noncarpetic acid, which in laboratory tests on rats, caused skeletal muscle weakness and central nervous system depression (Carrano and Malone. 1967). That being said, this fungus is consumed in different cultures around the world. It is speculated that these people are either immune or have developed a tolerance to these compounds. But if you’re foraging in New England, I’d recommend leaving these mushrooms in the forest.

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