New Zealand Truffles

truffler1635 at truffler1635 at
Tue Nov 28 02:35:08 EST 2000

The following article appeared in NATS Current News, Vol. 18, No. 6;
December-January 2000-01:

Truffles from New Zealand

By Pat Rawlinson

(Information supplies by Dr. Ian Hall and Dr. wang Yun, Crop and Food
Research at Invermay Agricultural Centre, Mosgiel, New Zealand, August
2000. Information also taken from The Black Truffle, by Ian Hall, Gordon
Brown & James Byars, 1994, New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food
Research LTD., Christchurch, NZ.)

	New Zealand has reported four truffieres are producing the perigord
back truffle, Tuber melanosporum. A truffiere, (prounounced true-fee-air)
is a natural truffle-bearing ground, or as in this case, an artificial
truffle plantation. new Zealand has 65 privately owned truflieres, but
crop and Food Research, a government owned company, is involved in
monitoring the plantations and provides advice to the members of the NZ
Truffle Association.
	The four fruiting truffieres are located near Christchurch and
Nelson on South Island, and Gisborne and the Bay of Plenty on North
Island. They are on both naturally optimal pH soi and soils which have
had the pH raised with the application of limestone. All are around 10
years old and were established with trees produced by Crop and Food
Research at Invermay Agricultural Center.
	The host trees are hazel, Corylus avellana A. and English oak,
Quercus robur L. They are planted in a ratio of two hazels to one oak,
with plant density and arrangement decided by owners and advisors. The
host plant, plant density, and the arrangement of the plants can all
affect yields, making them vital factors to consider before planting.
Truffles beneath hazels tend to start fruiting in four to ten years,
earlier than those beneath oak, and they will fruit for about twenty-five
years. Truffles beneath oaks tend to fruit from ten years of age, but
will go on fruiting for up to 100 years. The hazels are removed after
they stop producing truffles, which allows the oaks to grow and spread
	The truffles are of good quality. As they are out of season in the
Northern Hemisphere, they are commanding prices similar to those charged
for canned truffles, about U.S. $1400/kg (approximately 2.2 lbs.).
	Dr. Hall related the following: "The first Perigord black truffles
to be found in New Zealand were found in 1993 by Boss, a black Labrador
trained by the NZ Police's drug dog unit. There has been a gap until 1997
when a half hectare fruffiere in Gisborne produced 9 kg of grade 1
Perigord back truffles - the first commercial harvest in the Southern
	However, the finds of truffles in the three other NZ truffieres were
less well planned. In March this year the owner of one of the truffieres
was showing a relative around the plantation and describing how truffles
grow, how they are specially infected by peole in Crop and Food Research
and the like. The relative then asked the owner what truffles looked like
and got the reply that they looked like small black avocados with little
shining bumps on the surface. The relative then bent down, picked up a
truffle and said. "Like this?"
	A few weeks later, someone hopped over a fence for a walk around a
fellow hopeful truffle grower's truffiere. He said that to this day he
doesn't know why he did it, but he bent down, stuck his finger in a crack
in the ground, and flicked out an 80 g truffle.
	Truffles were also found accidentally in the third truffiere to
begin producing this year, long after the owners had given up even
finding the elusive "diamond of the table."
	- Dr. Ian Hall is continuing with his work on the Perigord black
truffle as well as several other species of truffle. Dr. Wang Yun is
working on a number of Basidiomycetes, including Tricholoma matsutake,
Boletus edulis, and Lactarius deliciousus. Want Yun is a life member of
NATS, and has many friendds in this area.
	- The NATS library has a copy of Dr. Hall's book and the book may be
checked out for further reading.

COMMENT BY POSTER: With recent recognition that T. matsutake is, by DNA
analysis the same as T. nauseosum, Wang Yun and Dr. David Hosford are
both apparently working on _different_ fungi: Wang Yun on T. matsutake (=
T. nauseosum) and Dr. Hosford working on T. magnivelare. Dr. Hall
obtained from me a pound of mature T. gibbosum var. autumnale, which he
hoped to grow with Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) grown as timber
trees in New Zealand. To date, I have not heard of any success with T.
gibbosum var. autumnale in New Zealand, but hope his work is successful.

Posted as a courtesy by
Daniel B. Wheeler

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