NamingThe false chanterelle has a similar appearance and can be confused with the chanterelle. Distinguishing factors are color and attachment of gills to the stem . 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'' have been misidentified as chanterelles, but can usually be distinguished by their well-developed unforked gills. Omphalotus is 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 . 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.
DistributionChanterelles are common in northern parts of Europe, North America, including Mexico, in Asia including the Himalayas, and in Africa including Zambia. Chanterelles 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, including Ukraine, the golden chanterelle is often found in beech forests among similar species and forms. In the UK, they may be found from July through to December.
At one time, all yellow or golden chanterelles in western North America had been classified as ''C. cibarius''. However, using DNA analysis, they have since been shown to be a group of related species. In 1997, the Pacific golden chanterelle 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''.
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