Cap 2-9 cm broad, convex, expanding to nearly plane, the disc depressed to shallowly infundibulate; margin at first incurved, sometimes undulate to slightly lobed; surface moist, smooth, hygrophanous, color variable: shades of orange, pink and brown, e.g. pinkish-buff, pale orange-brown, pinkish-brown to cinnamon-brown, the margin usually lighter; flesh thin, concolorous with the cap, unchanging; odor slightly fragrant; taste mild to fungal.
Gills decurrent, moderately broad, close to crowded, pale apricot-buff.
Stipe 3-7 cm tall, 0.4-0.6 cm thick, stuffed, often hollow at maturity; equal to slightly enlarged at the base; surface moist, the apex lined with gill edges, otherwise faintly striate, colored like the cap but usually paler, buff-colored mycelium at the base; cortex flesh pliant, apricot-buff, the pith soft, pale-buff.
Spores 4-4.5 x 3.4 µm, nearly round, spinose, nonamyloid; spore print cream yellow.
Forming arcs and rings in duff under Monterey pine (Pinus radiata), Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa), and occasionally Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.); fruiting from mid to late winter.
Clitocybe inversa is characterized by a pinkish, orange, to cinnamon-brown, slightly infundibulate cap and decurrent gills. It is sometimes confused by inexperienced collectors for the yellow chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius), but the latter is fleshier, more yellow, and has ridges rather than true gills. The small, almost round, spinose spores help to distinguish it from Clitocybe gibba also known as C. infundibuliformis which is similar but has larger elliptical, smooth spores. More study is needed to determine if Clitocybe gibba occurs in our area and if so, its habitat preference.