• Proposed
  • 2Under Assessment
  • 3Preliminary Assessed
  • 4Assessed
  • 5Published

Cantharellus formosus Corner

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Scientific name
Cantharellus formosus
Common names
Pacific Golden Chanterelle
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Proposed by
Noah Siegel
Comments etc.
Noah Siegel

Assessment Notes

Taxonomic notes

Cantharellus formosus was described from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada (Corner 1966), however this name was rarely used, and the complex of western North American golden chanterelles were generally recorded as C. cibarius until the pacific golden chanterelle harvest paper (Redhead et al. 1997).

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Cantharellus formosus is a very common chanterelle in the Pacific Northwest of North America.

Being a highly prized edible species, it is sought after by many mushroom hunters and foragers. It is commercially harvested across much of it’s range. No decline has been observed due to harvesting, and populations are likely more widespread and common due to forest management practices for increased timber production.

This species should be listed as Least Concern (LC)

Geographic range

From northern California on the coast, inland in south-central Oregon throughout the Pacific Northwest from lowlands to through the Cascade Range, north into British Columbia, and coastally into Southeast Alaska.

Population and Trends

Population is widespread across much of the Pacific Northwest of North America, and northern California coast. With the current forestry practices and logging regimes, and this species preference for younger forests, it has probably become much more common in the past few generations. Widespread collecting has not affected populations.

Population Trend: Improving

Habitat and Ecology

Ectomycorrhizal with conifers; especially common in young to mid-seral stage Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) forests in the Pacific Northwest. Also abundant in coastal forests dominated by Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis). Typically starting fruiting in late summer, and continuing into winter.


No specific threats have been identified with regards to this species.

Conservation Actions

No specific conservation actions is needed with regards to this species.

Research needed

Genetic studies on Cantharellus in the Pacific Northwest, to assess variation of collections being called C. formosus.

Use and Trade

Cantharellus formosus is a highly prized edible species, and is commercially collected in the Pacific Northwest.

Food - human


Castellano, M.A., Smith, J.E., O’Dell, T., Cázares, E. & Nugent, S. 1999. Handbook to Strategy 1 Fungal Species in the Northwest Forest Plan. U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: Portland, OR. 195 p.

Corner, E.J.H. 1966. A Monograph of Cantharelloid Fungi. Oxford University Press: London, England. 255 p.

Pilz, D., Norvell, L., Danell, E. and Molina, R.  2003. Ecology and management of commercially harvested chanterelle mushrooms. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-576. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 83 p.

Redhead, S.A., Norvell, L. & Danell, E. 1997. Cantharellus formosus and the pacific golden chanterelle harvest in western North America. Mycotaxon 65: 285-322.

Siegel, N. & Schwarz, C. 2016. Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast. Ten Speed Press: Berkeley, CA. 601 p.

Country occurrence

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted