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(trŭf`əl) [Fr.], subterranean edible fungus that forms a mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationship with the roots of certain trees and plants. The part of the fungus used as food is the ascoma, the fruiting body of the fungus. The best-known truffles are the black, or Périgord Tuber melanosporum, and the white, T. magnatum, both found chiefly in W Europe. Their flavor is piquant and aromatic, and they have been esteemed as a delicacy from ancient times; recipes for their use are found in Greek and Roman writings.

The black truffles found in the forests of Périgord, France, have been highly regarded since the 15th cent., and their collection and cultivation is an important industry. Traditionally hunted with pigs, they are now mainly found by dogs, which can be trained to "point" for truffles and have the distinct advantage of not being truffle eaters. Black truffle cultivation has been somewhat successful since the late 20th cent.; it requires the inoculation of the roots of a seedling of its host plants, oak, hazel, and other deciduous trees, with fungal spores. The prized white truffle, harvested primarily in central and N Italy as well as in parts of S France, Croatia, and Slovenia, is more expensive and has not been successfully cultivated.

Besides the well-known white and black truffles, there are hundreds of other species, all mycorrhizae, fungi in a symbiotic relationship with plant roots. The summer, or burgundy, truffle, T. aestivum, a black truffle widely found in Europe, is most often associated with beech trees and is also prized for culinary use. T. indicum, a black truffle exported from China, where it grows on pine and chestnut roots, is regarded as inferior to the Périgord and summer truffles. The tasty Oregon white truffle, T. oregonense, grows on the roots of the Douglas fir tree, which is dependent upon the fungus for its mineral nutrition. Truffles are widespread in distribution and are found in a wide variety of habitats.

The desert truffles of Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East (genera Terfezia and Tirmania) are typically found in arid and semiarid regions. They similarly grow underground. In the Mediterranean region, they are often found near Helianthemum species and other plants in the rock rose (Cistaceae) family, with which they grow symbiotically. Some desert truffle species are also prized as a delicacies and are collected in the wild. Their flavor and fragrance is generally less intense than European truffles.

Truffles and desert truffles are classified in the division Ascomycota, class Pezizomycetes, order Pezizales, families Tuberaceae and Terfeziaceae, respectively.



an ascomycetous. fungus with a fleshy, tuberous subterranean fruiting body. Most truffles belong to the order Tu-berales. They grow in forests as saprophytes or form mycorrhizae with tree roots. Some of the fruiting bodies resemble marble in cross section.

There are a few edible species of truffles. The most valuable is the very aromatic Tuber brumale, which is black and warty on the outside and dark gray or reddish black with light veining on the inside. Tuber brumale grows in oak and beech groves, mainly in southern France and northern Italy, where it has great commercial value. The species Choiromyces meandriformis, whose light-fleshed fruiting body resembles a potato in form and size, grows in the forests of Western Europe, the western USSR, and Moscow Oblast. Truffles of the genus Terfezia, which belong to the order Plectascales, include a number of edible species but are of less value than Tuber brumale. They grow in Southern Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia, as well as in the Azerbaijan and Turkmen SSR’s of the USSR.

Inedible basidial fungi of the genus Scleroderma of the order Gastromycetes, whose fruiting bodies are in the form of rounded or elongated yellow tubers 3–10 cm long, are sometimes erroneously called truffles. The fungi are found in forests and parks. Their fruiting bodies have an unpleasant odor and initially are solid, with a black interior and light veining; the interior later disintegrates.


The edible underground fruiting body of various European fungi in the family Tuberaceae, especially the genus Tuber.


indicates the unexpected. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 178]


any of various edible saprotrophic ascomycetous subterranean fungi of the European genus Tuber. They have a tuberous appearance and are regarded as a delicacy
References in periodicals archive ?
The dinner has been held every three years since 2010, thanks to the bond of friendship between its proponents, Fiorenzo Dogliani, the truffle purveyor whose family owns the Beni di Batasiolo winery; and Werner Berger, the importer of Mr.
28), for one, includes tastings, cooking demonstrations and sales of truffles and truffle-related products.
As the festive season approaches French foodies are lamenting a sharp rise in the price of black truffles after a severe drought ravaged this year's harvest of the "black diamond" delicacy.
To see more about the Truffles and the Truffle Awards, go to http://www.
9 pounds) of white truffles was sold for 75,000 euros ($87,500) in a top Italian auction on Sunday.
His own operation, with orders largely placed over WhatsApp, has grown from a one-man show to 12 people within the UAE, although he now sells the three main kinds of truffles to China, Saudi Arabia and India, as well as a line of products including truffle pasta, butter and appropriately enough for Dubai, gold-flecked truffle honey.
It was grown in Monmouthshire as part of a project run by truffle firm Mycorrhizal Systems Ltd (MSL) and it was harvested in March 2017 by a trained dog named Bella.
Further microscopic and genetic analysis confirmed that Bella's find was a Perigord black truffle (Tuber melanosporum).
The 2016 auction, which linked Philadelphia and Hong Kong with Alba last year, sold a twin truffle weighing a notable 1,170 grams to Chinese chef, Zhenxiang Dong for E100,500 (US$118,166) , which heavily contributed to the E450,000 (US$529,112) total raised.
It accounts for more than 70 per cent of the nation's truffle harvest and is the biggest producer in the southern hemisphere.
I like to speak directly to my supplier to ensure I know exactly where the truffle has been sourced from as this can also affect flavour and taste.
Taxonomy of Phaeangium lefebvrei, a desert truffle eaten by birds.