Observation 71688: Melanogaster Corda
When: 2011-07-16
Herbarium specimen reported

Notes: Found dug-up by an animal (I assume) in a douglas fir forest.

Proposed Names

-18% (3)
Recognized by sight
-21% (3)
Recognized by sight
45% (4)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight
-38% (3)
Eye3
Recognized by sight

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus

Comments

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It was cut with a dull knife.
By: Tim Sage (T. Sage)
2011-07-19 10:57:28 CDT (-0500)
Just examined Melanogaster tuberiformis Corda in NATS Field Guide
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2011-07-19 00:00:21 CDT (-0500)

To Selected North American Truffles and Truffle-like Fungi, by Matt Trappe, Frank Evans and James Trappe. Peridium should be minutely warted, although a hand-lens may be necessary to see them. I see no peridium present. In sliced cross-section, appearance should be damp and gelatinous, with nearly black spore-bearing areas separated by whitish (at maturity) veins.

Davin states it has a thick outer peridium. I see none. If a peridium is present, it should minutely visible warts. Rhizomorphs are also common on fresh Melanogaster peridium material. This collection lacks any rhizomorphs to my eye.

Perhaps an animal has specifically eaten all of the outer peridium. Compared to James Trappe’s photo in the above, the peridium should be “dark brown, becoming nearly blackish brown at full maturity, thick, in wet weather often with dark brown droplets of fluid on the surface.” Collection does not look at all like that description, so perhaps an animal has chewed the peridium off.

That should leave a gelatinous gleba. Quoting the above reference, “Gleba glelatinous, black with whitish veins at maturity…” I have never seen this degree of “veins” in Melanogaster, but did not observe the collection myself.

I can see some slight reddish-discoloration or bruising near the outside of the collection, which might suggest Melanogaster.

Some Melanogasters have very powerful and striking aromas, similar to roofing tar, fresh asphalt, rancid fats, or a rather pleasant aroma when very fresh, quickly becoming somewhat overpowering after only 24 hours exposed to air at temperatures above 70 degrees. Many animals seek out Melanogasters as they are loaded with fatty acids. To a flying squirrel or vole, Melanogasters are high-energy candy.

If Melanogaster tuberiformis, then spores should be “10-15 × 6-9 microns, ellipsoid to ovoid.” Spores should also be brown and have an basidial pore. Melanogaster is part of the Boletaceae.

All Melanogasters are believed to be edible, at least all of them I’ve tried were. But they are very strong as well. A small amount ground and blended into peanut butter or other nut butter makes a tastey snack on celery sticks, crackers, or crusty bread. A little goes a long ways. I find Melanogasters which have an asphalt or roofing-tar aroma are off-putting, and I personally do not put them in my mouth. The late Welles Bushnell found Melanogasters during the Yellowstone fires several years ago, and had to exit his vehicle when the smell from the sporocarps in his trunk overpowered all those inside the car.

Finally, July is very late in my experience to see Melanogaster. At the late Paul Bishop Sr’s Tree Farm, Melanogaster natsii and M. tuberiformis were both collected from February to early May.

Very atypical.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2011-07-18 23:23:55 CDT (-0500)

Interior does not look sliced: it looks pulled apart.

That is a cross section
By: Tim Sage (T. Sage)
2011-07-18 23:01:01 CDT (-0500)

It is one tuber, cut in half. The aroma is very strongly fungal, and very pungent. My fiance described the smell as delicious.

The smell now that is is dried is 100x times more potent and quite nauseating.

When I tried to view it under the scope, I saw broad oblong brown spores with an apical germ pore, I believe.

No asci or basidium noted.

Douglas Fir forest.

Need more info.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2011-07-18 14:46:42 CDT (-0500)

As it was already dug up and I can see not animal tooth-marks on it I presume it had some aroma? If so what?

While somewhat similar to Melanogaster, I don’t believe this is one. Melanogaster is almost entirely gelatinous, with orange-colored sterile tissue between globules in my experience. This collection appears to have defined growing rhizomorphs between much smaller globs of jelly-like material.

Presence of Douglas-fir is a positive for Melanogaster.

Personally, I have never seen anything like this. A sliced surface would have been helpful, Tim. Most hypogeous mycorrhizal species have important features more easily identified in cross-section.

The only thing I have ever seen similar to this (and not very similar at that) was a profusive collection of Hysterangium collected under Noble fir in a tree farm. The white rhizomorphs were exactly that. Rhizomorphs were also extremely fibrous, and very difficult to tear apart with fingers to reveal individual sporocarps. This is also referred to sometimes as a mycorrhizal mat community, and likely had many other organisms present. Problem with identification is that Hysterangium I collected had a dark-green to olive gleba. This looks uniformly ripe olive (black), while Hysterangium should have individual white peridiums around each sporocarp.

IMO, very interesting collection!

Melanogaster
By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2011-07-17 00:34:19 CDT (-0500)

Melanogaster, but it has a thick outer coating.

Any other ideas?
By: Tim Sage (T. Sage)
2011-07-16 23:58:41 CDT (-0500)

And thanks for the input, Darvin!

Nice ID!
By: damon brunette (damonbrunette)
2011-07-16 19:21:07 CDT (-0500)

Created: 2011-07-16 18:32:12 CDT (-0500)
Last modified: 2012-11-14 23:49:30 CST (-0600)
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