We have a Winner for CA State mushroom !!

Thank you for being one of almost 4,000 fungiphiles who voted for the CA State Mushroom! While one mushroom got the most votes, all these amazing mushrooms - and mushroom lovers - were winners.

Selection of a State Mushroom increases awareness of the pivotal role fungi play in the ecology of our state. Fungi sequester carbon, improve nutrient dynamics and water quality, and are critical food for wildlife, plants, and people. California faces many challenges going forward, and fungi provide many of the solutions we need.

With the diversity of fungi in California, picking just one mushroom to represent the entire kingdom is a challenge. So it required the effort of thousands of aficionados and dedicated mush enthusiasts. First, mycological societies around the state polled members to recommend their favorite: ultimately, six candidates were selected and put to a vote by CA residents. Almost 4,000 votes were received from all corners of our state.

Results are in. Of the six candidates, the winner was…drumroll…

California Golden Chanterelle!

(Photo: © Michael Wood)

The California Golden Chanterelles can be found hiding under trees throughout California, sometimes hiding under their dear friend poison oak. They are a choice edible with a slightly fruity apricot scent and a nutty flavor when cooked with butter.

Congratulations for playing an important role in selecting the California State Mushroom!!

Now we face one more important step. It’s time to convince our elected officials to pass legislation enshrining your decision, and naming the California Golden Chanterelle as California’s State Mushroom.

Your voice is still important as we bring mushrooms to the state capitol. Hopefully you are willing, if needed, to join your voice in educating legislators on the importance of a State Mushroom and all fungi to the health of California’s natural resources. Watch castatemushroom.org for progress updates.

Thank you again for voting. And thank you to all the individuals and groups who supported this project, particularly MykoWeb and California Institute for Biodiversity.

Always keep the FUN in fungi!

Vote Results

Candidate Votes
Black Trumpet 293
California Golden Chanterelle 1409
Candy Cap 342
King Bolete 293
Lion's Mane 365
Western Jack-O-Lantern 1115

CA State Mushroom Project

California has a state bird, state flower, state animal, even a state lichen, but not a state mushroom! Given California’s wealth of natural resources and the essential role mushrooms play in maintaining our biodiversity, it is time California had a State Mushroom!

Mycologists, mushroom societies, and other fungus lovers from around the state have identified six mushrooms that would best represent our wondrous state. Now we need your help. California residents are invited to vote for their favorite mushroom. The winning selection will be taken to the State Legislature to make it official.

This is important. Mushrooms have a central role in California’s ecology and deserve recognition of their contributions. Selection of a CA State Mushroom will help increase awareness of and funding for preservation of mushroom habitat and natural resources. This is the first step in a fun(gi) journey.

Ballots are due Saturday, May 7


The Candidates

(click on photos below for more info)

Black Trumpet

Scientific Name: Craterellus calicornucopioides
Other Common Names: Common Names: Black Chanterelle, Horn of Plenty

This difficult to spot but easily identified black funnel-shaped mushroom is found abundantly in the northern half of the state. A choice edible without toxic look-alikes, it is highly sought after in California's tanoak woodlands.
(Photo: © John Kirkpatrick)

California Golden Chanterelle

Scientific Name: Cantharellus californicus

Found in several inland counties and all those along the California coast, this large bright yellow-orange mushroom is easily identifiable and enjoyed by both professional chefs and home cooks. It is only found in California growing under oak trees.
(Photo: © Michael Wood)

Candy Cap

Scientific Name: Lactarius rubidus

This unique edible mushroom is used mostly in desserts (cookies, ice cream, chocolates, etc.) due to the strong maple syrup aroma and flavor it gives off when dried. It is found in California & Oregon coastal ranges in mixed woodlands.
(Photo: © Fred Stevens)

King Bolete

Scientific Name: Boletus edulis var. grandedulis
Other Common Names: Porcini, Cep
One of the largest of the boletes, this species is highly prized as an edible by recreational collectors as well as commercial pickers throughout the state.                                                    

(Photo: © Michael Wood)

Lion's Mane

Scientific Name: Hericium erinaceus

The distinct beard-like combs of this species make it easily identifiable. It is rare, despite wide distribution throughout the state, but can be found by looking up in oak trees. It is widely cultivated for its culinary value and its reported beneficial properties.
(Photo: © Boleslaw Kuznik)

Western Jack-O-Lantern

Scientific Name: Omphalotus olivascens

This bioluminescent mushroom glows in the dark! It is found almost exclusively in California oak woodlands throughout the state. Favored by knitters and crafters, it produces purples and greens for textile dyeing.
(Photo: © Michael Wood)