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28 August 2020

Mushrooms of Austria — Chanterelle Mushroom

Austria: Mushrooms of Austria – Chanterelle Mushroom, 28 August 2020. Image from Post AG.

Technical Specifications:

Date of Issue: 28.08.2020
Number of Copies: 350.000
Print Style: Offset
Design: Marion Füllerer
Printed by: Joh. Enschedé Stamps B.V.

The brilliant yellow chanterelle mushroom is the fi rst design in a new series of special stamps, “Austrian mushrooms”, which is meant to showcase the wide range of indigenous mushrooms.

Chanterelle is the common name of several species of fungi in the genera Cantharellus, Craterellus, Gomphus, and Polyozellus. They are among the most popular of wild edible mushrooms. They are orange, yellow or white, meaty and funnel-shaped. On the lower surface, underneath the smooth cap, most species have rounded, forked folds that run almost all the way down the stipe, which tapers down seamlessly from the cap. Many species emit a fruity aroma, reminiscent of apricots, and often have a mildly peppery taste (hence its German name, Pfifferling). The name chanterelle originates from the Greek kantharos meaning “tankard” or “cup”, a reference to their general shape.

At one time, all yellow or golden chanterelles in western North America had been classified as Cantharellus cibarius. Using DNA analysis, they have since been shown to be a group of related species. In 1997, the Pacific golden chanterelle (C. formosus) and C. cibarius var. roseocanus were identified, followed by C. cascadensis in 2003 and C. californicus in 2008. C. cibarius var. roseocanus occurs in the Pacific Northwest in Sitka spruce forests, as well as Eastern Canada in association with Pinus banksiana.

The false chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) has a similar appearance and can be confused with the chanterelle. Distinguishing factors are that false chanterelles have true gills, while chanterelles have folds. Additionally, color can help distinguish the two; the true chanterelle is uniform egg-yellow, while the false chanterelle is more orange in hue and graded, with darker center. The true chanterelle’s folds are typically more wrinkled or rounded, and randomly forked. Though once thought to be hazardous, it is now known that the false chanterelle is edible but not especially tasty, and ingesting it may result in mild gastrointestinal distress. The poisonous species in the genus Omphalotus (the jack-o’-lantern mushrooms) have been misidentified as chanterelles, but can usually be distinguished by their well-developed, unforked true gills. Species of Omphalotus are not closely related to chanterelles. Other species in the closely related genera Cantharellus and Craterellus may appear similar to the golden chanterelle.

Cantharellus pallens has sometimes been defined as a species in its own right, but it is normally considered to be just a variety (C. cibarius var. pallens). Unlike “true” C. cibarius it yellows and then reddens when touched and has a weaker smell. Eyssartier and Roux classify it as a separate species but say that 90% of the chanterelles sold in French markets are this, not C. cibarius.

Similarly Cantharellus alborufescens, which is very pale, reddens easily, and is found in Mediterranean areas, is sometimes distinguished as a separate variety or a separate species.

Chanterelles are common in Eurasia, North and Central America and Africa. They tend to grow in clusters in mossy coniferous forests, but are also often found in mountainous birch forests and among grasses and low-growing herbs. In central Europe, the golden chanterelle is often found in beech forests among similar species and forms. In the UK, they may be found from July through December.

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