Truffles are mushrooms that spend their entire lives underground at a depth of 15-20 cm. We more than 200 truffle species in the world and more than 30 species in Europe.
In order to spread their spores, they produce a strong smell. They smell like gas, gasoline, or garlic sometimes. This smell attracts especially mammals. Immature truffles do not smell, therefore do not attract any animals. This is an advantage for hunters, because their dogs find only ripe truffles. (And only ripe truffles have the right flavor). The ripe truffles are full of spores. If an animal digs and eats them, then its feces spread spores in the forest. The spore then germinates and creates mycelium. Mycelium is an invisible thread between the truffle and roots of a tree. Truffles and trees live in a mutual symbiosis. The mushroom body forms mycelium, the truffles themselves are fruiting bodies.
„Since, during storms, flames leap from the humid vapors and dark clouds emit deafening noises, is it surprising that the lightning, when it strikes the ground, gives rise to truffles, which do not resemble plants?“
Where do truffles grow?
Basically, truffles grow all over the world, except the Arctic and tropical areas. Most famous places are in the Mediterranean (mainly Italy, Spain, France and Balkan countries), but you can find truffle species all over the Europe.
Black truffles grow in different s kind of soil and each species needs a specific type of one. If we want to find common indicators, so truffles need to grow in deep, well-drained, stony, calcareous soils with high pH, on warm sites. There must be a certain amount of sand, mud and clay in the soil. Truffles need plenty of water, they cannot tolerate excessive humidity.
Fairy ring / Burn patch / Brules
This term refers to a circular area around truffle-bearing trees. They were popularly believed to have been called so after fairy dancing. Fairy rings or Burn patch indicate that the truffle mycorrhiza is present and active. When truffles are growing underground in symbiosis with tree roots, they produce volatile organic compound. These substances destroy all plants around the tree and create an area that looks burned. Some truffle hunters used this as a way of locating truffles in the wild forests in Europe.
Did you know?
Truffles are classified according to the genus (Tuber), then by species (Magnatum) and occasionally according to the mycologist who finds it (Pico).
If we want to grow truffles, we plant trees that have roots inoculated with mycelium. The problem of growing is that truffles can be harvested after 6-8 years. They are often grown around old family homes in Italy, where natural populations are being strengthened by planting new mycorrhizal trees around. If you grow truffles, the disadvantage is that you never know what the harvest will be like.