Craterellus tubaeformis (C. tubaeformis) is a fairly common forest mushroom that grows from small to medium size. They are generally found budding in decaying, coarse, woody debris, lowland, wet lands, and moss-covered logs in the mountainous regions of North America and Europe[i]. These places are abundant with conifers, including pines, spruces, and firs. From here, C. tubaeformis may grow solitarily or in loose clusters, or occasionally, in large numbers too. Presently, the fungus is harvested and distributed in Asia, such as India[ii] and Thailand[iii], as well as Africa.
The cap of C. tubaeformis is naturally predominantly yellow with significant shades of brown, earning its other name, yellowfoot or yellowlegs. More names for this mushroom include winter mushroom, Winter Chanterelle, Funnel Chanterelle, and Trumpet Chanterelle.
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Craterellus tubaeformis Identification and Description
Cap: 2-7 cm wide cap that changes color with age; from yellow-dark brown when fresh to grayish brown when mature
Gills: shades of gray
Stem: 3-9 cm tall x 3-8mm thick; waxy surface with warm orange-yellow color when young, brownish-yellow when mature
Smell: no distinct odor
Taste: no distinct taste other than a general earthy flavor
Spores: roundish smooth
Spore color: white or very light yellow[iv]
Habitat: moss, increased growth especially in well-decayed, coarse, and woody debris[v]
- tubaeformis is often mistaken with other types of mushroom that look identical with only small and minute differences in spores, stems, and caps. These mushrooms are Cantharellus sphaerosporus, Craterellus pallidipes, and Craterellus flavobrunneurs. Additionally, this fungus is sometimes misidentified as ringless honey mushroom or Armillaria Tabescens, though the latter grows in one big clump then branches into dense clusters, and have a brown-black hairy cap. This is not the case for the yellow-brown capped C. tubaeformis, which grows in different patterns and thrives in different habitats.
Aside from the physical differences, C. tubaeformis is also often confused with other mushrooms in the context of nomenclature. Between C. tubaeformis and C. infundibuliformis, the distinction is still unclear. Some studies consider the two species as distinct and separate, while modern researches treat them as one, with syntax as only varying factor. Due to the relevance of modern researches, any reference regarding Cr. infundibuliformis is now pointed to C. tubaeformis.i
As of writing, the academic discussion regarding the taxonomic controversy between these kinds of mushroom is still in order, however, it is established that further molecular phylogenetic analysis reclassified the mushroom from Cantharellus to Craterellus. With that, previous researches regarding Cantharellus tubaeformis and contemporary researches about Craterellus tubaeformis and Cr. infundibuliformis all refer to a specific mushroom species that is Craterellus tubaeformis.
Mostly available for harvest in mid-winter through mid-spring or September to January, there are many ways to prepare C. tubaeformis as food. When seasons change and availability of mushroom is scarce, C. tubaeformis can be preserved, dried, or pickled. After foraging, the mushrooms are carefully cleaned with water. The dust and soil in the caps and the gills are cleaned using a dry and soft brush. It is to be noted that soaking the mushroom or leaving it wet for a certain period of time may cause sogginess.
One can prepare C. tubaeformis through sautéing, frying, and boiling. Because of its taste, it is known to be an adaptable and versatile ingredient that can complement a lot of dishes like pasta stuffing, mushroom soup, and pizza. It is also a great addition to flavor and texture in a variety of vegetable dishes. When cooked, C. tubaeformis emits no distinct taste except for a generally pleasant and earthy flavor. It does not give off a distinct aromatic odor.
In terms of storage, unwashed C. tubaeformis may be kept in a paper bag inside the refrigerator for less than a week.
Craterellus tubaeformis Benefits
As a member of the Craterellus genus, C. tubaeformis is packed with most essential nutrients and minerals needed by the body. One cup of C. tubaeformis has 1.87 mg of iron, 273 mg of potassium, 31 mg of phosphorous, and only 0.63 g of sugar. Other vitamins and minerals found in this mushroom are vitamins B, B12[vi], D, fiber, and copper. Consumption of C. tubaeformis can promote overall physical health, specifically the following:
Inflammation in the human body is a series of interactions that may be due as a response to trauma or injury. Polysaccharides extracted from C. tubaeformis are found to have anti-inflammatory properties, thereby boosting the immune system once consumed[vii].
According to a study, Vitamin D2 found in wild C. tubaeformis is more significant compared to button mushrooms from stores[viii]. It is an important vitamin D source for people who are allergic to fish or who are following certain diets, such as vegetarianism[ix] and veganism. In the long run, taking C. tubaeformis on a daily basis can significantly lower the risk of osteoporosis in the older generation.
Reducing Risk for Diabetes
C. tubaeformis is a great source of fiber. According to the results of McRae’s (2018) meta-analysis on fiber intake and diabetes, daily fiber intake significantly decreases risk for type 2 diabetes, the chronic medical condition brought about by increased sugar accumulation on bloodstream due to unhealthy lifestyle[x].
C. tubaeformis have significant traces of vitamin B and B12[xi]. Such vitamins have a direct positive effect in enhancing brain function. By boosting red blood cells that carry oxygen to the brain, these vitamins cause the central nervous system to work faster, thus, significantly alerts the decision-making process, and improves the overall disposition of the person.
Craterellus tubaeformis Dosage
There is limited researches about C. tubaeformis intake with human respondents. In Sweden, C. tubaeformis is part of the 11 wild species of mushrooms that are consumed as food[xii]. In Mexico, C. tubaeformis is not only consumed as food, but is also treated as medicine[xiii]. While these ethnographic studies show that C. tubaeformis is part of a population’s diet, there is no available research that seeks to identify the amount of C. tubaeformis that is safe for ingesting.
Craterellus tubaeformis Side effects and Toxicity
Chanterelle mushrooms are known for their ability to accumulate heavy metals that are usually known to be toxic to the human body when ingested. These include cadmium, lead, and mercury. However, these metals may only add up to a certain amount that is within tolerance levels, and with proper preparation, they may further decrease in the cooking process.
During harvesting, C. tubaeformis forms cibaric acid and 10-hydroxy-8-decenoic acid as its natural response to injury. Cibaric acid is a relatively new fatty acid compound that is discovered in the 1990’s. By then, cibaric acid was subjected to isolation and analysis. Because it is still a premature discovery, its biological activity, insect-related activity, and/or effect on mushroom consumers has not been fully explored[xiv].
While it is considered to be one of the harmless and most common edible mushrooms, consuming large quantities of it without chewing them properly might cause digestive problems and intestinal complications. Moreover, there are rare cases observed regarding taking C. tubaeformis with alcohol that resulted to negative reactions from the body[xv]. In a study done on fungal allergy and pathogenicity, results show that five percent of the subjects with respiratory allergies are sensitive to C. tubaeformis’ spores[xvi].
It should be emphasized that the aforementioned medicinal and nutritional health benefits of C. tubaeformis still hold true when taken in modicum amount for a certain period of time. There may or may not be potential danger when taken in excess and no effect when taken in minuscule amounts; what is only established by existing literature is that C. tubaeformis is an edible mushroom.
With the recency of C. tubaeformis’ re-classification, there are limited studies regarding its comprehensive effect, both positive and negative, whether medicinal or nutritional, on the human body. If one should plan to consume C. tubaeformis as an alternative medicine, as an additional source of vitamins, or as a new part of one’s diet, it is recommended to consult a qualified practitioner for a more inclusive scientific opinion. Even then, individual differences should be taken into account, and what proves to be effective to the general population may not prove the same for a certain individual.
[i] Dahlman, M., Danell, E., & Spatafora, J. W. (2000). Molecular systematics of Craterellus: cladistic analysis of nuclear LSU rDNA sequence data. Mycological Research, 388-394.
[ii] Borkar, P., Doshi, A., & Navathe, S. (2015). Mushroom Diversity of Konkan Region of Maharashtra, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 7625–7640.
[iii] Phosri, C., Polme, S., Taylor, A. F., Koljalg, U., Suwannasai, N., & Tedersoo, L. (2012). Diversity and community composition of ectomycorrhizal fungi in a dry deciduous dipterocarp forest in Thailand. Biodiversity and Conservation, 2287–2298.
[iv] Knudsen, H., & Vesterholt, J. (2018). Funga Nordica 2nd edition re-issue. Nordsvamp.
[v] Trappe, M. (2004). Habitat and host associations of Craterellus tubaeformis in northwestern Oregon. Mycologia, 498-509.
[vi] Watanabe, F., Schwarz, J., Takenaka, S., Miyamoto, E., Ohishi, N., Nelle, E., . . . Yabuta, Y. (2012). Characterization of vitamin B₁₂compounds in the wild edible mushrooms black trumpet (Craterellus cornucopioides) and golden chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius). J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo), 438-41.
[vii] Tsvetkova, I., Naydenski, H., Petrova, A., Kostadinova, E., Gyosheva, M., Georgieva, P., … Popov, S. (2006). Antibacterial Activity of Some Bulgarian Higher Basidiomycetes Mushrooms. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 8(1), 63–66. doi: 10.1615/intjmedmushr.v8.i1.80
[viii] Cardwell, G., Bornman, J. F., James, A. P., & Black, L. J. (2018). A Review of Mushrooms as a Potential Source of Dietary Vitamin D. Nutrients, 1498.
[ix] Outila, T. A., Mattila, P. H., Piironen, V. I., & Lamberg-Allardt, C. J. (1999). Bioavailability of vitamin D from wild edible mushrooms (Cantharellus tubaeformis) as measured with a human bioassay. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 95-98.
[x] McRae, M. P. (2018). Dietary Fiber Intake and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses. J Chiropr Med, 44-53.
[xi] Yahia, E. M. (2018). Fruit and vegetable phytochemicals: chemistry and human health. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
[xii] Stryamets, N., Elbakidze, M., Ceuterick, M., Angelstam, P., & Axelsson, R. (2015). From economic survival to recreation: contemporary uses of wild food and medicine in rural Sweden, Ukraine and NW Russia. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 11(1). doi: 10.1186/s13002-015-0036-0
[xiii] Santiago, F. H., Moreno, J. P., Cázares, B. X., Suárez, J. J. A., Trejo, E. O., Oca, G. M. M. D., & Aguilar, I. D. (2016). Traditional knowledge and use of wild mushrooms by Mixtecs or Ñuu savi, the people of the rain, from Southeastern Mexico. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 12(1). doi: 10.1186/s13002-016-0108-9
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