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Polyozellus multiplex (Blue Chanterelle)

Polyozellus multiplex (Blue Chanterelle)

  1. Photos
  2. Description
  3. Medicinal Info
  4. Edibility
  5. References



Polyozellus multiplex is part of the group of fungi collectively known as cantharelloid mushrooms (which includes the genera CantharellusCraterellusGomphus, and Polyozellus) because of the similarity of their fruit body structures and the morphology of the spore-producing region (the hymenophore) on the underside of the caps. The fan- or funnel-shaped fruit bodies of the black chanterelle grow clustered together on the ground, often in large masses that may reach aggregate diameters of up to 1 meter (3.3 ft), although they are usually up to 30 centimeters (11.8 in).

The individual caps, 3–5 cm (1.2–2.0 in) wide and almost as long, are violet-black, with edges that are initially whitish, and with a glaucous surface—a white powdery accumulation of spore deposit. The upper surface may be zonate—lined with what appear to be multiple concentric zones of texture caused by areas of fine hairs (a tomentum); and the edges of the caps have a layer of very fine hairs and are lobed and wavy. The underside of the caps bears the fertile, spore-making tissue called the hymenium, which typically has shallow, crowded wrinkles or veins that are roughly the same color or paler than the top surface. Some variation in color has been observed depending on the collection location. For example, specimens found in Alaska are more likely to be jet-black in color with a dark gray underside.

Fruit bodies may be up to 15 cm (5.9 in) high (including the stem) and 10 cm (3.9 in) wide. Occasionally, much larger clusters of fused mushrooms are found, up to a meter in diameter. The stem is dark purplish-black with a smooth (glabrous) and dry surface; the stems are often fused at the base. It is typically 1.5–2 cm (0.6–0.8 in) wide and up to 5 cm (2.0 in) long. The flesh is dark violet, soft but breaking easily. The spore deposit is white.

Polyozellus multiplex is an ectomycorrhizal species, meaning that the hyphae of the fungus grow in a mutualistic association with the roots of plants, but the fungal hyphae generally do not penetrate the cells of the plant’s roots. The species grows in coniferous woods under spruce and fir, and more frequently at higher elevations. It is most often encountered in summer and fall.

This species is northern and alpine in distribution, and rarely encountered. Collections have been made in the United States (including Maine, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, and Alaska), Canada (Quebec and British Columbia), China, Japan, and Korea. The disjunct distribution of this species in North America and East Asia has been noted to occur in a number of other fungal species as well. Polyozellus multiplex is also found in the Queen Charlotte Islands, where it is commercially harvested.

Medicinal Info:

Treating Alzheimer’s Disease With The Blue Chanterelle; Polyozellus Sp.” :

Blue chanterelle (Polyozellus multiplex), known as an edible mushroom, was extracted using methanol to screen on anti-viral agent. Syncytium formation in Newcastle disease virus (NDV)-infected baby hamster kidney (BHK) cell originates from the trafficking of viral glycoprotein into cell-surface. Blue chanterelle inhibited not only syncytium formation, but also trafficking of glycoprotein, hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN), onto cell-surface. Viral glycoprotein is processed within the endoplasmic reticulum during routing to surface. Blue chanterelle extracts showed the inhibitory activities (IC50 10 μg/mL) against α-glucosidase. These results suggested that blue chanterelle extracts inhibited the cell-surface expression of NDV-HN glycoprotein without significantly affecting HN glycoprotein synthesis in NDV-infected BHK cells.

Bioactive compounds:


Skeletal formula of polyozellin

The compound polyozellin—a chemical which can be isolated and purified from P. multiplex—inhibits prolyl endopeptidase (PEP), an enzyme that has a role in processing proteins (specifically, amyloid precursor protein) in Alzheimer’s disease. Chemicals that inhibit PEP have attracted research interest due to their potential therapeutic effects. Further analyses of extracts from P. multiplex revealed similar benzofuranyl derivatives of polyozellin, each with different chemical properties, including kynapcin-12, kynapcin-13 and -28, and -24. A total synthesis of kynapcin-24 was achieved in 2009.

Antitumor properties:

Research conducted in 2003 suggests that extracts from Polyozellus multiplex may have suppressive effects on stomach cancer. The study showed that feeding a low concentration (0.5% or 1%) of the mushroom extract enhanced the activities of the enzymes glutathione S-transferase and superoxide dismutase, and increased the abundance of the molecule glutathione. The extract also augmented the expression of the protein p53. All of these substances protect the human organism against cancer. Additional studies reported in 2004 and 2006 attribute anti-tumor properties to polyozellin.


Polyozellus multiplex is edible, and is collected for sale in Asian countries such as Korea, Japan, and China. In North America, it is sometimes collected recreationally, and commercially. The taste is described as mild, and the odor as mild or aromatic. Mycologist David Arora claims the flavor to be inferior to Craterellus. Fruit bodies may be preserved by drying.