The main species of this genus with increased commercial value and taste are the following:

 

Tuber aestivum Tuber uncinatum Tuber melanosporum Tuber magnatum Tuber borchii Tuber macrosporum Tuber mesentericum Tuber brumale

Tuber aestivum (black summer truffle) &

Tuber uncinatum (black burgundy truffle)

 

The majority of scientists all over the world are convinced that we are talking about the same species in a wide time range of collection.  Is a common species to Greek forests  and especially in the zone of oak (300 meters and above). T. Aestivum is  known, as black summer truffle and  is been harvested from early April until the end of September and the T. Aestivum fo. Uncinatum (or Tuber uncinatum for some researchers) is known as black burgundy truffle and is been harvested from the last days of September until January if the winter has been late. Truffle tree’s species that have been recorded belong to the species  Quercus coccifera (kermes oak), Q. pubescens (downy or pubescent oak) & Carpinus orientalis (Oriental Hornbeam).

It is a species without delicate fragrances but strongly shopping due to the fact that readily cultivated in artificial plantations with extremely large fruit body. Of course the size is relevant and depends on many other factors before planting.

 

Macroscopic Features

 

Color: Brown to brownish-black with a slight tint of gray

Shape: Spherical to irregular, slightly lobed, 5.5-6.2 cm diameter around without recess in the base

Peridium: Quite thick, consisting of brown to dark brown, visible to the naked eye, lumps polygonal - pyramidal slightly sharpened at the top, with base dimensions from 4 to 7 mm. The intersection of peridium shows spherical and polygonal cells which together form a pseudoparenchymatous network.

Gleba (rococo interior decoration): Fleshy, pale gray to pale cinnamon. Sterile areas off-white to white anastomized and usually extend from peridium to the center of the fruit body. Fertile areas light gray - cinnamon with ascospores.

Odor: Intense enjoyable.

 

Microscopic Features

 

Sacs: Dimensions 80-100 x 60-75 μm, consisting of 1 – 4 (5) spores,

Spherical to ellipsoid, with an occasional short and flattened peduncle.

Spores: Color tan, oval to hemispherical, measures 25-30 x 18-22 μm. The surface of the spores is been covered by local short vertical spikes and network with honeycomb – network form composed of irregular polygonal areas, numbered 3 - 4 along the maximum dimension of the spore (length).

 

Conclusion

 

Features such as the time of collection, the absence of base cavity to the fruit body, the vivid acute lumps on the surface and the size of the spores differentiate this kind of truffle from the same in many things  T. mesentericum.

 

Tuber melanosporum (black Perigord truffle)

 

It has been recorded so far in the zone of oak (450 meters). Characterized as black Perigord truffle is harvested from early December until late March when the weather is still chilly. Truffle tree species that have been recorded belong to   Q. pubescens (downy or pubescent oak) & Carpinus orientalis (Oriental Hornbeam). It is a kind of truffle that needs a fairly cold period to mature and emit those exquisites aromas. That is why the main harvest months are January to February.

 

Macroscopic Features

 

Fruit body: Coherent solid 3 - 12 cm.

Color: Brown to reddish-brown in places.

Shape: Spherical.

Peridium: Consisting of distinct brown-black pyramid lugs slightly depressed at the top and beam foundation in 2-3mm.

Gleba (rococo interior decoration): Fleshy, compact, coherent, high density. Colored fertile areas brown to black. The color of sterile areas is off-white and the appearance same to a very dense network with many anastomoses.

Odor: Strong and pleasant very different than in the similar species T. brumale.

 

Microscopic Features

 

Sacs: Dimensions 60-85 x 50-70 μm, consisting of 1 – 5 spores,

Spherical to ellipsoid, brittle with an occasional short peduncle.

Spores: Color dark - brown, oval, measures 28-32 x 16-21 μm. The surface of the spores is been covered by local short vertical spikes on the average 4 μm grown across the surface.

 

Conclusion

 

Features such as the time of collection, the sampling time, the forest species, the altitude, the appearance of the fruit body, in combination with the internal configuration and further microscopic characteristics, clearly separate the sample from the species T. aestivum and T. brumale.

 

Tuber brumale (Black winter truffle)

 

Display type quite common in the forests of Greece. Has been recorded so far in the area under the oak (450-800 meters). Characterized as black winter truffle is harvested from early December until late April when the weather is still chilly. Truffle tree species that it has been recorded are Q. pubescens (downy or pubescent oak), Corylus avellana (Common Hazel), Carpinus orientalis (Oriental Hornbeam) and Q. coccifera (the common yew). It's a kind of truffle most close to T. melanosporum. That is why many collectors are confused in recognition of the fruit bodies.

 

Macroscopic Features

 

Color: Brown to brownish in places.

Shape: Spherical to oval without visible basal cavity.

Peridium: Consisted of distinct dark brown polygonal pyramid lugs strongly depressed on the center and beam foundation in 2-3mm.

Gleba (rococo interior decoration): Fleshy, compact, with small and distinct sterile areas. The color of fertile areas is cinnamon to grey - brown. The color of sterile areas is off-white to beige. The appearance of the sterile areas is not too thin lines that begin from the base of the fruit body and never reach the outer surface (peridium).

Odor: Mild and pleasant, not too intense like in T. melanosporum.

 

Microscopic Features

 

Sacs: Dimensions 50-72 x 44-60 μm, consisting of 1 – 5 (6) spores, spherical to oval, fragile with an occasional short peduncle.

Spores: Color light - brown, elliptical to spherical, perimeter closed (without holes), measures 28-32 x 16-21 μm.The surface of the spores is been covered by local short vertical spikes on the average 4.58 μm grown across the surface.

 

Conclusion

 

The main differences between melanosporum and brumale are: The decoration of the sterile areas, the color of gleba, the spikes and the odor for experienced collectors.

 

 

Tuber magnatum (precious white truffle)

 

Species previously unrecorded in Greek lands. The Italians claimed for many years that they were the only ones who possessed the ability and capacity of soil and climate to grow and collect this valuable white diamond of nature that boosts the gourmet dishes in the hands of skilled chefs who will use it in their kitchens.

 

After the last years we are convinced that they are wrong. Records of precious white truffle Tuber magnatum in Greek territories suggest that perhaps there are soils that can be cultivated.

Recorded in months October to November for two consecutive years in the zone  of ​​oak on roots of hazel trees (Corylus avellana) and eastern hornbeam (Carpinus orientalis). The altitude is about 300 to 450 meters (this is the zone where we have the most of the records of truffle species in Greece and also the zone of oak).

 

Macroscopic Features

 

Fruitbody: Coherent solid 2.7 – 3.8 cm.

Color: Light brown to pale yellow in places.

Shape: Spherical to slightly lobed with small local cavities.

Peridium: Whitish to beige. The intersection of peridium shows spherical and polygonal cells which together form a pseudoparenchymatous network like this of T. aestivum. Surface smooth.

Gleba (rococo interior decoration): Fleshy, compact, coherent high density. The color of fertile areas is light brown to brick red in places.  The color of sterile areas is off-white and the appearance like a group of many thin likewise lines in attempting to create a dense network.

Odor: Intense and pleasant, resemble a little the odor of gas or methane.

 

Microscopic Features

 

Sacs: Dimensions 65 x 40-60 μm, consisted of 1 – 4  spores, spherical brittle, with an occasional short peduncle.

Spores: Color tan, spherical, perimeter closed (without holes), measures 26 x 23 μm. The surface of the spores is been covered by local short vertical spikes and network with honeycomb – network form composed of irregular polygonal areas, numbered 2 - 3 (4) along the maximum dimension of the spore (length).

 

Conclusion

 

The main characteristics of the collection’s sites in conjunction with the strong smell of gas or methane,  the smooth light colored surface, the structure and appearance of the gleba, and of course the dimensions and the shape of the spores are those things that separate the value white truffle from species like T. excavatum, T. fulgens and T. dryophilum.

 

Tuber borchii (Bianchetto truffle)

 

This species is  geographically widespread in Greece. Is a type of truffle   quite common in the forests of Greece. It has been recorded so far in areas under the oak (450-800 meters and lower 150 to 450 meters). People named that truffle as the spring truffle likens to much valuable white truffle. The collection start from early December until the end of March and is a species generally small in dimensions. Truffle tree species that have been recorded with belong to : Quercus cerris (oak kirris),  Corylus avellana (Common Hazel), Q. coccifera (the common yew), Pinus pinea (umbrella pine) and Pinus brutia (the Calabrian pine). It's a kind of truffle with quite mild and pleasant flavor.

 

Macroscopic Features

 

Fruitbody: Coherent hard enough to vaguely fluffy and soft textured surface diameter 1.2 - 1.4 cm.

Color: From pale brown to reddish brown with local reddish spots.

Shape: Almost spherical heterogeneously without distinct lobes and prominent cavity in the base (basal cavity).

Peridium: Thin to very thin less than 200mm. The intersection of peridium shows spherical and polygonal cells which together form a pseudoparenchymatous network like T. aestivum.

Gleba (rococo interior decoration): Fleshy, not so compact. The color of fertile areas is light brown.  The color of sterile areas is off-white and the appearance of a few wide likewise lines in attempting to create a dense network.

Odor: Intense and pleasant, not too acute.

 

Microscopic Features

 

Sacs: Dimensions 70-90 x 50-80 μm, consisted of 1 – 4 (5) spores, spherical to ellipsoidal, without a peduncle.

Spores: round to oval, closed around (without holes).  Color tan, shape spherical to ellipsoidal, perimeter closed (without holes). The surface of the spores is been covered by local short vertical spikes and network with honeycomb – network form composed of irregular polygonal areas, numbered 5 - 6 (to 9) along the maximum dimension of the spore (length).

 

Conclusion

 

Characteristics of the collection’s areas and the type of vegetation in conjunction with the compact structure, the season of collection, the pleasant odor, the smooth surface pale brown to reddish color, the structure and appearance of the gleba, the dimensions, the shape and the formation of the spores clearly separate the sample from the flat look similar at first glance species T. Magnatum.

 

Tuber macrosporum (the mild black truffle)

 

Macroscopic Features

 

Color: Brown to reddish brown with a local tone of terracotta light.

Shape: Spherical, slightly irregular, with a diameter of approximately 2-5 centimeters.

Peridium: Pretty thick.

Gleba (rococo interior decoration): fleshy, compact, gray - brown to brown - lilac.

Odor: Intense, pleasant compared to gas smell.

 

Microscopic Features

 

Sacs: Dimensions 90 -120 x 60-80 μm, consisting of 1-3 (4) spores, spherical to oval, with in case of short and flattened peduncle.

Spores: Color brownish, ellipsoid dimensions 37.74-72.99 x 23.64-46.97 μm. The surface the spores is covered by local short vertical spikes and a network  (beehive like) on the surface of the cells.

 

Conclusion

 

This type of truffle often confused with the species of T. brumale and T. melanosporum. It prefers areas with water and very humid places. Considered by many as an indicator of the existence of precious white truffle, and collected approximately in the same time.

 

Tuber mesentericum (truffe noire du Lorraine, Bagnoli black Truffle)

 

Macroscopic Features

 

Color: brown to brownish-black with a light gray tint.

Shape: Spherical to ellipsoidal or irregular, diameter of about 2.4-4.6 cm with characteristic hollow at the base of fruitbody (basal cavity).

Peridium: Pretty thick, made from brown to brownish black, visible to the naked eye, pyramidal lumps.

Gleba (rococo interior decoration): Fleshy, pale gray to cinnamon with various shades of brown. Sterile areas numerous, short and slightly flattened. Sterile areas whitish, rarely are anastomosed and usually extend from the peridio to the base cavity (basal cavity). Fertile areas in a light gray - brown color with many spores that occupy most of the surface of the gleba.

Odor: Characteristic, intense, resembles iodine solution or gas smell.

 

Microscopic Features

 

Sacs: Spherical to oval with peduncle (sometimes). spore number 1-4 in every sac. Dimensions of the sacs  80 - 110 x 60 - 75 μm including the peducle.

Spores: Ellipsoid spherical, closed perimeter (without holes), measuring 24,8 - 42,27 x 21,24 - 37,32 μm with several polygonal to irregular meshes.

 

Conclusion

 

This kind of truffle is collected in the same period as the type T. aestivum fo. uncinatum and therefore often confused by inexperienced hunters.

 

Finally, from the macroscopic point of view likens to black autumn and to winter black truffle.

 

 

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