Bright orange to yellowish orange, with sharp-edged gills descending the stalk. July–October. Grows in clusters from wood or buried wood. Cap convex, becoming flat to funnel shaped, sunken in the center, with incurved margins; orange to yellowish orange; texture smooth. Gills narrow to broad; sharp-edged; crowded; nonbranching; orange to yellowish orange. Gills descend the stalk. Stalk curved, tapering toward the base; same color as cap but darkening toward the base; texture smooth; solid. Spore print: cream. Spores magnified are round, smooth, colorless. Fragrance pleasant, fruity.
Lookalikes: Two delicious chanterelles (Cantharellus lateritius; C. cibarius) are similar in color and shape, but their undersides are smooth or have blunt ridges, not gills, and they grow singly on the forest floor (not in clusters on wood). Two honey mushrooms (Armillaria mellea; A. tabescens) are honey-colored. The big laughing gym (Gymnopilus junonius) has orange to rusty spores.