I was walking out of the lab today and came across this bright orange something. It turned out to be a chanterelle, the first I've seen in Alabama. All this late wet weather we've been having has brought out all kinds of strange things.
This one is most likely either Cantharellus confluens or C. lateritius. Bessette et al. have pictures of both but indicate that they may be a single species. The folds are not well developed, so they don't look very much like gills, as chanterelles are not directly related to gilled mushrooms in the strict sense. Chanterelles are some of the more 'easily identified' mushrooms, but as always, that's a relative term.
So what did I do? I said I wasn't going to eat it, because it looked a little beat up, but the more I looked at it and the more certain I became of my ID, the more it seemed to be crying out for some brushing off, chopping, and frying in Amish butter. So that's what I did. Just brush off the dirt (soggy mushrooms aren't very nice), chop, fry in butter with a pinch of salt. Dee-licious!
I'd almost forgotten how delicious fresh wild mushrooms can be. What a treat!