Chanterelle holds title of state mushroom

With the fall mushroom season just around the corner, I've been curious about something. Does Oregon have a state mushroom? It seems like we have everything else, from our own shell to that furry creature.

— D. S.,

Medford

The Beaver State does have its own mushroom and he is a real fungi, D.S.

Sorry, that lousy pun just mushroomed up out of nowhere.

In 1999, our state Legislature named the Pacific golden chanterelle — Cantharellus formosus — as our own state mushroom. Since more than a half-million pounds of the wild, edible fungi is harvested each year around the state, they figured it deserved the honor.

Chanterelles are generally orange or yellow with gill-like ridges underneath a smooth cap. They have a fruity fragrance, somewhat like an apricot with a hint of pepper.

They are a most excellent mushroom that makes for lip-smacking dishes, according to SYA's resident fungus aficionado.

Unique to the Pacific Northwest, the Pacific golden chanterelle forms a mycorrhizal relationship with conifer forests, including Douglas fir, western hemlock and Sitka spruce. It can also be found around live oaks in California, although we prefer those growing north of the border.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.


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