It's been hot and dry lately, but I thought the rain we had a couple days ago would perk up these Chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius). No such luck. Even so, they're my first harvest of the year, so they're worth posting about. I did find some Smooth Chanterelles (C. lateritius) in the Shawnee near One Horse Gap on June 9, but I let those be.
Chanterelles are a mycorrhizal mushroom, typically more yellow-orange than these faded specimens. They're an excellent mushroom for beginners: They're tasty, usually easy to see, and have a distinctive morphology: trumpet shaped with "gills" running down the stalk. The gills are actually ridges that smear like wax. If you find a mushroom with true plate-like gills that otherwise fits this bill (though typically bigger and oranger), then you have the poisonous Jack O'Lantern (Omphalotus illudens). Also, Jack O'Lanterns grow from wood (though sometimes buried wood). Chanterelles grow directly from the ground and are typically scattered like those pictured here. Jack O'Lanterns typically grow in clusters.