The elfin, red mushrooms typically grow in deciduous woods, often on stream bank, and are characterized by ridges, not gills, on their underside, which extend down the stem.
Other kinds of chanterelles also are fruiting around Charlotte – school bus-yellow mushrooms with ruffled edges and underside ridges. (Please note! These descriptions cannot be safely used to identify mushrooms in the wild – and there are dangerous look-alikes for both species. Hunt with an experienced mushroom hunter and a guide book and even then, use caution.)
Filling a fork isn’t the highest goal in mushroom hunting, however. The best fun about the recent rain is seeing the fruit of vast networks of underground mycelium, the white webby stuff you find if you turn over a shovel of forest soil or flip over a buried log. The mycelium produces fruit – that’s the visible mushroom – when conditions are right, and with the Carolinas so suddenly sodden, the conditions indeed are perfect for fungi. – Amber Veverka