Horn of Plenty
Cantharellaceae (chanterelle) Family
Photo courtesy Brenda Bodiford-Waldrip, Luverne, Alabama
The Cornucopia, in Greek mythology, referred to the magnificent horn of the nymph Amalthea's goat (or of herself in goat form), that filled itself with whatever meat or drink its owner requested. It has become the symbol of plenty. A possible origin for the name "trumpet of the dead" is that the growing mushrooms were seen as being played as trumpets by dead people under the ground.
The fruiting body does not have a separation into stalk and cap, but is shaped like a funnel expanded at the top, normally up to about 4 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter, but said to grow to as much as 6 inches tall. The upper and inner surface is black or dark grey, and the lower and outer fertile surface is a much lighter shade of grey. The fertile surface is more or less smooth but may be somewhat wrinkled.
This fungus is found in woods in North America, Europe, Japan and Korea. Mainly it grows under broad leaved trees, especially in moist spots on heavy calcareous soil. In Europe it is generally common but seems to be rare in some countries such as the Netherlands. It appears from June to November.
The mushroom is usually almost black, and is hard to find because its dark color easily blends in with the leaf litter on the forest floor. Hunters of this mushroom say it is like looking for black holes in the ground.