Observation 166004: Melanogaster Corda

Cat#: 2014052501

Found roughly 4" below surface in garden soil. Fir, incense cedar and oak growing nearby.

Discovered accidentally, as Susan was digging a hole to plant a potted plant.

This could have been introduced with a potted plant.

Very tough, it tore rather than snapped open. Odor very unpleasant…reminiscent of chemicals.

The torn flesh exuded a blackish liquid.

Species Lists


Proposed Names

51% (3)
Recognized by sight
63% (4)
Recognized by sight

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
Gray squirrels
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2014-05-31 18:21:09 EDT (-0400)

could easily smell these 5–6 inches deep. I bet they are caching the truffles for later consumption as well.

I have not been MDing much lately. Been researching fungi that have been used for bioremediation, aka degredation of toxic waste. Hope to propose a suggestion for treating a site in Portland in 2015, if it is allowed to go to clean-up by then. One fungus that I have grown in my front yard seems appropriate. I don’t think most people consider it for cultivation. It’s probably poisonous as well. That’s two strikes against it in most mycologists’ grow list.

By: (Aaron Cena) (mountainplayer)
2014-05-31 17:26:44 EDT (-0400)

I’m constantly running grey squirrels out of our garden, and routinely find where they’ve excavated something out of the ground. We’ve often thought they were after lily bulbs. I wonder now if at least some of them weren’t after fungi.

It’s really cool to have information about the edibility and flavor of this obscure and rather unglamorous fungi on this observation. Thanks for your contribution.

You and I ran into each other on Treasurenet years ago. Been metal detecting lately?

By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2014-05-31 12:05:04 EDT (-0400)

are high in fatty acids, which contain lots of calories. That’s one reason Melanogasters are highly sought out by Northern Flying squrrels.

Odors that are attractive to flying squirrels may not inspire similar response in humans.

That said, I find Melanogasters to be like licorice gummy bears, but with stronger flavor that lasts (sometimes for days!) in the mouth, no matter what else is being eaten.

By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2014-05-28 12:48:06 EDT (-0400)

Italian White truffle oil is the only product I enjoy.

Fortunately, you live in an area where truffles abound. Oregon white truffle (Tuber gibbosum) and Oregon Fall truffle (Tuber oregonense) are both found in your area. But you need to study trees before hunting them.

Both species are found only with Douglas-fir. Once that identification is mastered, look for small holes in the forest duff between the furtherest branches and the trunk of the tree. Or you might even find one or two partially eaten, but left in the bottom of a hole.

Hope you find bunches!

Re: Odor
By: (Aaron Cena) (mountainplayer)
2014-05-28 12:18:22 EDT (-0400)

I dried these specimens, and the odor changed somewhat. When fresh, they had a chemical odor, similar to but not identical to the phenol smelling poisonous Agaricus that I’ve collected. Now its a bit sweeter, but still nauseating, in my opinion.

Never had a real truffle, just truffle oil, which I enjoyed.

By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2014-05-27 20:31:44 EDT (-0400)

a good reason not to eat it, Aaron.

That’s why I don’t try more Italian White truffles: once was enough!

Dan, thanks for your comments….
By: (Aaron Cena) (mountainplayer)
2014-05-27 19:28:10 EDT (-0400)

I really appreciate to the contribution of knowledge for this observation. When Christian didn’t suggest a species, I wondered why.

Don’t think I’ll be trying this fungus, even though I probably have a readily available supply right in my backyard. I found the odor disgusting.

A truffle.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2014-05-27 19:12:07 EDT (-0400)

A hypogeous (under-ground) fungus of the Boletaceae family. The gleba (interior) is usually solid/cartilaginous/gelatinous. At maturity or near maturity, it begins to exude the tiny droplets of goo. I can’t tell you what species this is, but it was not introduced by planting a potted plant nearby. It probably has been fruiting in or near the area for several years.

There are several species of Melanogaster in the US, and it requires microscopy to determine species. The gleba is a confection for flying squirrels, which often seek it out. It can fruit in considerable quantity, but you’d have to examine the area to at least 4 inches in depth.

Some of the species currently known are Melanogaster euryspermus, M. natsii, M. tuberiformis. Wikipedia gives 25 different species of Melanogaster.

Melanogasters are edible. Try grating one into cream cheese, and having it on celery sticks for an appetizer. You may not appreciate the taste and texture but there is definately taste there.