Notes: Rhizopogon occidentalis is a rather abundant species of hypogeous (underground) and as the photos show, sometimes epigeous (visible above ground) varieties of Rhizopogon associated in my experience with either Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) or Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), most commonly in sandy or very well drained soils. When a Rhizopogon is found in sandy conditions, such as sand dunes along the Oregon Coast in association with Lodgepole pine, and has yellowish or off-yellowish rhizomorphs (thread-like mycelial cords)covering the peridium, it is almost assuredly Rhizopogon occidentalis, aka Western Rhizopogon. This is an edible species, and favored by many native animals (and some people). Dr. James Trappe has suggested drying sliced Rhizopogon spinkled lightly with salt, and eating like potato chips with your favorite dip. Sporocarps of this species often must have the sand brushed from it before eating. The gleba can be nearly white when very young, quickly (within a day) turning to yellowish-white, then grayish white and finally a rather dark gray-green color. It can also have a distinctive odor, similar to bananas, when approaching peak maturity. Photos show the collection in situ first, then after excavation. Note the brown-orange bruising of the rhizomorphs in these very immature specimens.
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Created: 2008-08-10 19:05:08 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2008-08-10 19:05:08 CDT (-0400)
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