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THE BLACK TRUMPET and HORN OF PLENTY Mushrooms
Scientific names: Craterellus fallax and C. cornucopioides


IMPORTANT NOTICE
The TEXT on this Webpage regarding
EDIBLE WILD MUSHROOMS
is as important to your SAFETY as the photographs!

IF IN DOUBT, THROW THE MUSHROOM OUT!

I assume responsibility for the accuracy of information provided at americanmushrooms.com regarding edible wild mushrooms. However, I cannot assume responsibility for the integrity of your use of the information I present here regarding edible wild mushrooms. It is up to you to exercise your own best judgement in the event that you choose to consume edible wild mushrooms. Specifically, it is encumbent upon you to read all the text presented here that relates to the particular edible wild mushroom species involved to ensure that you have effectively ruled out dangerous poisonous/toxic wild mushrooms. Hurriedly comparing wild mushroom specimens to photographs of known edible wild mushrooms in hopes of determining that they are indeed the edible species can readily be FATAL!
 
Keep in mind that some of these pages include photographs of poisonous mushrooms which resemble edible wild mushroom species; again, reading the accompanying text and applying that information is absolutely vital to your safety!

 
Note that even with some of the best, safest, most popular edible wild mushroom species, it is possible for an individual human being to have an allergic reaction to a particular species. This happens with the grocery-store button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), it happens with edible wild morel mushrooms, and it happens with strawberries.
 
It is also possible for illness to result from consuming mushrooms that are decaying, contaminated by pollution, or otherwise not in good condition. Before perusing the section of this Webpage that presents photographs of and text about edible wild mushrooms (and some of their toxic "look-alikes"!), you must read "The Mycophagist's Ten Commandments," which explains several hazards and provides advice on how to avoid those hazards.
 
Most importantly, be doubtful and be skeptical: Use the mushroom's description to seek evidence that the mushroom you've found is NOT the edible wild mushroom species whose photograph it resembles!
 
David Fischer, Author of Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America (1992, Univ. of Texas Press)
 


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THE BLACK TRUMPET and HORN OF PLENTY Mushrooms
Scientific names: Craterellus fallax and C. cornucopioides
Image - Photo of the edible Horn of Plenty mushroom (Craterellus cornucopioides)
The Horn of Plenty mushroom (Craterellus cornucopioides), about actual size

Image - Photo of the edible Black Trumpet mushroom (Craterellus fallax) Perhaps the least likely looking edible wild mushrooms, the Black Trumpet mushroom (Craterellus fallax, see photos, right and below right) and its twin species, the Horn of Plenty (C. cornucopioides, see photo, above) are exceptionally worthy of their gourmet status. Some of my favorite mushroom-hunting areas are aound the Binghamton area of upstate New York, where there are plenty of oak and beech, which are the usual mycorrhizal tree partners with these symbiotic mushrooms, and the only mushroom hunters thereabouts who don't guard the secret locations of their black trumpet spots as they would the combination to their safes are those who haven't found a good patch of 'em yet.
 
The reason for their popularity? Though their size is modest and their flesh thin, their flavor is outstanding—and it's matched by an aroma so delightfully fragrant that this mushroom is actually used to flavor dry, mild-tasting white wines: a few fresh or dried specimens are slipped into a freshly opened bottle which is then recorked and allowed to sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Remarkable, delicious, and fun! Of course, the choice of wine is everything, but those who practice this art find the search for the best vintage for this unusual recipe to be half of the fun.
 
Fruiting in July, August and September in locales where snow falls each winter (later in the fall in warmer climes), these mushrooms can be difficult to locate, as their color is variable but varies only between gray, brown, and black! Sometimes they will stand out fairly well against a green-moss background, perhaps near the base of a tree, but just as often they elect to fruit amidst dead leaves and twigs, where their drab colors camouflage them very well. The best place to watch for them is in places where beech and oak trees are mixed throughout many acres of forest. Perseverance is mandatory, but it is also very nicely rewarded… eventually, for usually where there are any at all, there are usually a lot more fairly nearby. And that's a good thing, since it takes a sizeable number of individual mushrooms to make a pound fresh-weight.

Image - Photo of the edible Black Trumpet mushroom (Craterellus fallax) Close examination will show that there are no gills or any other specialized spore-producing structures on one of these mushrooms: It is simply a cone- to trumpet-shaped layer of fungal tissue that flares on the"bell" end of the "trumpet." The edge at the flared end is typically inrolled. Occasional specimens flare only little or not at all, seeming more like tubes than trumpets. For the most part, they grow in clusters.
 
Based on DNA studies, some mycologists are no longer convinced that there are two distinct biological species here—but many who have studied these and the related chanterelles a lot, myself included, do. I find two distinct forms: One (which I regard as the Black Trumpet, C. fallax) is gray to black, very scaly on the inner surface, fairly fragile, and produces pinkish-tinged spore prints; the other (the Horn of Plenty, C. cornucopioides) is consistently brown, not markedly scaly, fairly elastic, and produces unpigmented white spores. Also, darker specimens of C. fallax appear almost blue on the outer spore-producing surface—a feature which often seems exaggerated by photography—and it is typically more robust, with thicker flesh near the base.
 
In any event, the mushroom hunter needn't fret over which is which, for both forms taste and smell fantastic! They're commonly dried and stored in airtight containers for use months or even years later.
 
There's a lot more information about this and other choice edible wild mushroom species in my best-selling book, Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America.


AMERICA'S BEST, SAFEST
EDIBLE WILD MUSHROOMS!

HEN OF THE WOODS (also known as MAITAKE or SHEEPSHEAD MUSHROOM)
Scientific name: Grifola frondosa

BEAR'S HEAD TOOTH MUSHROOM and equally delectable sibling species
Scientific name: Hericium americanum, H. coralloides, H. erinaceus, etc.

GEM-STUDDED, PEAR-SHAPED, and GIANT PUFFBALLS
Scientific names: Lycoperdon perlatum, L. pyriforme, Langermannia gigantea and others

THE SULPHUR SHELF or CHICKEN MUSHROOM
Scientific name: Laetiporus sulphureus

THE SHAGGY MANE MUSHROOM
Scientific name: Coprinus comatus

THE YELLOW and BLACK MORELS
Scientific names: Morchella esculenta and M. elata

THE BLACK TRUMPET and HORN OF PLENTY Mushrooms
Scientific names: Craterellus fallax and C. cornucopioides

THE SWEET TOOTH or HEDGEHOG Mushroom
Scientific names: Hydnum repandum and H. umbilicatum


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To contact David Fischer, send an e-mail to…
to contact David Fischer, send an e-mail to 'mycology@aol.com'

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