Cap 2-4 cm broad, at first convex, then depressed, sometimes hollow in the center, trumpet-shaped; margin incurved, wavy; surface dry, brown to yellowish-brown, with fine dark scales; flesh thin, yellowish-brown; odor and taste mild.
Gills buff-brown, lighter than cap, edges blunt, decurrent, widely separated, with cross-veins.
Stipe 2.5-7.0 cm long, 0.5-1.0 cm thick, buff-brown, smooth, equal, flattened to longitudinally grooved, sometimes hollow.
Spores 8-12 x 5-8 µm, smooth, elliptical. Spores pale buff to white in deposit.
Scattered to clustered on soil, moss, and rotten wood in conifer woods during mid-winter.
Edible and excellent.
This diminutive member of the chanterelle clan is recognized by a yellowish-brown, trumpet-shaped, sometimes hollow fruiting body, and blunt-edged widely spaced gills. Craterellus tubaeformis appears well after the start of the mushroom season with peak fruitings in January and February, thus one of its common names: winter chanterelle.
There has long been much debate about whether this species belongs in the genus Cantharellus or the genus Craterellus. Recent molecular evidence shows that it belongs in Craterellus. The molecular evidence also indicates that we may not have the "real" Craterellus tubaeformis of Europe and the Eastern United States. This means our west coast species may eventually get a new name. Craterellus neotubaeformis has been suggested as a possible replacement name.