Strada del Tartufo e della Castagna - Valle del Turano

The truffle

Truffles are hypogeous mushrooms of the genus Tuber. They grow underground, at depths varying from a few centimetres to 0.5 m, in symbiosis with the roots of plants classified as mycorrhizal, creating a large spidery mass of mycelium.
Oak, hazel, poplar, lime tree (ectomycorrhizal plants) and roses, olive trees and vines (endomycorrhizal plants) are some of the plants that live in symbiosis with truffles. When truffles are ripe they emit a pungent and distinctive aroma, which varies according to the species. Truffles are globular and lumpy.
Their outer rind is called peridium and the inner flesh is called gleba. The peridium can be smooth or warty, with more or less dramatic pyramidal spurs; colours vary with species, but they can go from yellowish to white (in “white” truffles) or from brown to black (in “black” truffles).
From an ecological point of view truffles are even considered to have played a very important role in managing abandoned natural environments: its presence creates a vital “microsystem” where this mushroom generates and lives underground feeding a mutual exchange with both the roots of the trees it attaches itself to and other living beings, such as enzymes, insects and mammals, who prepare an ideal habitat for them, eat them and digest them, causing the germination and distribution of their reproductive spores. The name of the species normally refers to their identifying peculiarity, e.g. T. melanosporum = black spore truffle (from the Greek: melan = black).