Observation 111339: Elaphomyces granulatus group

When: 2012-09-26

Collection location: Wrights Lake, El Dorado National Forest, California, USA [Click for map]

38.8513° -120.2252° 2124m

Who: Mike McCurdy (lesmcurdy)

Specimen available

Trees in a 60 ft radius circle from the collection spot included: (25) lodgepole pines 6" to 24" in diameter; at least (25) lodgepole pine to 6" in diameter; (1) red fir 8’ in height, and 3" in diameter. The (4) habitat photos show views from the collection spot to the north, east, south, and west in that order.

Most of the 27 fruiting bodies were found about 3" below the surface, in the top layer of soil just below the duff, in a 6 sq. ft. area. (3) were found 4" to 6" below the surface. The soil below the duff was peat-like.

Many were mature and compromised. The gleba was dry,and powdery. I collected a few, and left many more. One intact specimen was sectioned, and was also mature. The odor was pungent, and medicinal. One had been nibbled on, and does not appear to be mature.

The clue to finding these was rodent diggings. Unfortunately, I made 16 additional excavations in other areas, roughly 4 sq. ft. each, to no avail.

Species Lists



Proposed Names

55% (1)
Recognized by sight: Thank you Michael Castellano for the ID help by photo only.
84% (1)
Used references: NATS identification cards; Field Guide to North American Truffles; How to Know the Non-Gilled Mushrooms. Elaphomyces can easily be broken into 2 major groups: E. muricatus group, which has spores embedded in the peridium; and E. granulatus group, which lacks spores embedded in the peridium. This is the latter. But without specific microscopy of spores, more precise identification cannot be made.

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
The English language
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2012-09-28 00:14:49 EDT (-0400)

is not well-suited for describing aroma or odors. I understand the problem completely.

Try to take first impressions of as many people as you can find. Someone is likely to mention something that most people can agree upon. Maybe not the best, but at least a beginning.

Great information.
By: Mike McCurdy (lesmcurdy)
2012-09-27 21:10:32 EDT (-0400)

Thanks Daniel. I’m still thinking about the odor. Difficult to put ones finger on. Four people were in on the description.

Alexander H. Smith once said
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2012-09-27 20:59:04 EDT (-0400)

Elaphomyces was the most common truffle of Northern Hemisphere forests. In Smith, Smith & Weber, they are identified as fruiting in summer and fall under both hardwoods and conifers; but it is now known from collections submitted to the North American Truffling Society that they fruit year-round. Elaphomyces do not mature at the same time. Animals continuously predate upon them and thus ensure dispersal through mycophagy: ingestion of spores which are then mixed in the gut and excreted in the feces, often by small rodents. Usually abundant animal burrows are indications of some variety of hypogeous fungi nearby.

I’m glad you noted the aroma as “pungent, and medicinal” Mike: many people do not add aroma to their collection notes, and thus the only aroma noticed in Field Guide to North Amercan Truffles is “faintly metallic”. This notice is also imformative, as Elaphomyces are known to concentrate radioactive cesium (from the Chernobyl area after the power plant failure for instance), among other metallic elements.

For this reason Elaphomyces have great potential for bioremediation through accumulation of certain heavy metals.

Elaphomyces can fruit at much deeper levels than 6 inches. I have found them embedded in clay deposits on steep slopes up to 12 inches deep under Oregon White oak (Quercus garryana). I hope others do not have my penchant for such deep excavations on erosion-prone soils, but I was curious how deep they actually fruited.

Created: 2012-09-27 15:09:14 EDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2012-09-27 20:35:10 EDT (-0400)
Viewed: 100 times, last viewed: 2018-05-22 16:00:45 EDT (-0400)
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