Edible mushrooms include the chanterelle, white, oyster, portobello and shiitake varieties. Many wild mushrooms that are toxic to humans, such as jack-o'-lanterns and false morels, bear a resemblance to edible varieties.
Chanterelles are a popular wild mushroom easily recognized by their golden yellow or bright orange caps. Chanterelles have a fruity flavor similar to that of peaches or apricots with a hint of pepper. Chanterelles grow on the East and West coasts of the United States. The West Coast variety produces clusters that weigh up to 2 pounds. The common cluster of chanterelles on the East Coast grows to about the size of a fist.
The toxic counterpart of chanterelles is the jack-o'-lantern mushroom. The jack-o'-lantern mushroom has an orange interior compared to the chanterelle's pale meat. The gills of a jack-o'-lantern mushroom are non-forking and lack the typical appearance of chanterelle gills. Eating a jack-o'-lantern mushroom can result in an individual suffering from excessive amounts of sweating, tear production, salivation, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms usually appear within 30 minutes after eating a jack-o'-lantern and subside within 24 hours.
The false morel is commonly mistaken for the morel mushroom, but it lacks the honeycomb texture and appearance of a true morel. A false morel is further identified by its wrinkly smooth texture and hollow interior.