Many fungi have a symbiotic relationship with a plant. The most famous is probably the Périgord black truffle Tuber melanosporum, a prized delicacy that forms in association with the roots of certain forest trees. It grows naturally in lime-rich soils of Spain, France and Italy. The truffles are the fruiting bodies of the fungus and are formed under the soil. Traditionally, pigs were used to sniff them out, but dogs are increasingly used for the task. New Zealand’s first truffle plantation was established in 1987 near Gisborne. Oak and hazel trees were inoculated with the fungus, and the first truffles were produced five years later.
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Landcare Research – Manaaki Whenua
Photograph by Peter Buchanan
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