In the Puget Sound Region we have both the Oregon White Truffle, featured here, and the Oregon Black Truffle, Leucangium carthusianum. They occur in the Pacific Northwest and grow in association with the roots of forest tress, especially Douglas fir. The Oregon White Truffle can be found in our region from February until June. Truffles and other fungi are harvested in nature by flying squirrels and other small rodents. As they ripen truffles emit a strong odor and are easily detected by these animals. The animals excavate and consume them or place them in a cache for later consumption. Ultimately the animals are responsible for dispersal of the truffles. The spores are deposited in the animal feces on the forest floor. They germinate, grow and connect to tree roots where they provide water and mineral for the tree in exchange for carbon compounds. Both of these Pacific Northwest truffles are harvested for the table. For further information contact the North American Truffling Society.
Tuber gibbosum is part of the Burke Museum's Mushroom of the Month series.
Photo by J. Ammirati