X-mas trees and nut growers: additional crop?

dwheeler at my-deja.com dwheeler at my-deja.com
Sat Jan 20 14:09:17 EST 2001


It has been said that anything "out of sight" is also "out of mind." This
certainly applies to truffles.

Truffles are hypogeous (underground) ectomycorrhizal (beneficial fungi)
which gather water, extract nutrients from soil, and association with
nitrogen-fixing bacteria. It has been said that such ectomycorrhizal
relationships act as a 20-400 fold increase of the adsorption area of
mere roots.

In response to this increase of nutrient gathering, the host plants give
the fungi carbohydrates collected during photosynthesis, which the fungi
use to fruit.

While many truffles/plant relationships have not been documented as yet,
there are some which have been tentatively proven, and which have
economic potential for nut growers and X-mas tree farmers.

Here are a few of them:

Tuber californicum (Oregon Black truffle) found with hazel (Corylus
cornuta var. californicum, but possibly other Corylus sps as well); a
small globose truffle often fruiting during early spring and into the
early summer.

Tuber gibbosum var. autumnale (Oregon White truffles) found with Douglas
fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), often with young trees such as X-mas trees
and younger tree stands which have just formed full canopy. Individual
trees produce as much as 1/4-2.5 pounds per tree.

Tuber gibosum var. gibbosum (Oregon Gray truffle), associated with
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), often with young trees such as X-ma
trees and younger tree stands which have just formed full canopy.
Individual trees produce 1/8-1 pounds per tree, but with relatively large
sporocarps. Typically matures from April-June, when few (if any) other
commercial truffles can be found.

Tuber texense (Texas truffle or Pecan truffle), associated with
pecan,often in the south but potentially with nearly any pecan trees
including those on the west coast from California to Vancouver Island,
WA. Individual trees may produce several pounds of fairly large truffles
each.

Leucangium carthusiana (Oregon Black truffles), associated with Douglas
fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), often with young stands of true fir such as
Noble fir in X-mas tree plantations; or slightly older stands of Douglas
fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in full-canopy situations, to stands of trees
nearly 100 years of age. A single young tree may produce 1/8 to 1.5
pounds of truffles.

Tuber rufum (Red truffle) associated with Corylus cornuta var.
californica and possibly other Corylus sps, the red truffle has been
found from North Carolina to Washington.

Tuber rufum var. nitidum (Black-staining Red truffle), associated with
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in a wide variety of slopes and tree
ages.

Tuber canaliculatum (sorry, no common name known), associated with
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii).

Tuber sphaerosporum (sorry, no common name known), associated with
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii).

Tuber aestivum (Summer truffle), associated with beech.

Tuber separans (no common name known), associated with either Tanoak or
Canyon Live oak, with individual trees known to produce over 8 ounces of
truffles per tree. David Aurora informed me that the color photograph of
truffles in Mushrooms Demystified came from a single tree in California.

Tuber irradians (no common name known), associated with Lodgepole pine
(at least in my experience), with individual truffles rather small.

A host of other Tuber (true truffle) species associated with nut, beech,
oak, and pine species.

Plantation owners or orchardists may well have these truffles, and not
know about them. Since at least one species of truffle, the Italian White
truffles, recently sold at $430/ounce (or more than the price of gold) it
is possible the greatest value from plantations or orchards lies more
underground than above ground.

Daniel B. Wheeler
www.oregonwhitetruffles.com


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