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systemslib

Matsutake? Or some other tricholoma?

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On the plus side these were found under hemlock, flushing in a straight line approx 30-40 ft, approx 25+- buttons pushing up at same time. soil does appear to be spodosol -like, gray, sandy. On negative side I did not see any brown flecking on caps as per other eastern NA (maine) examples, elevation is low, maybe 200 ft above sea level. Also does not seem to have that gym sock/spicy scent--to me they smell earthy, but a coworker said they smelled like old fish!

They were found on a the edge of a old logging road under a dense stand of eastern hemlock. I covered up the buttons in a possible fruitless attempt to let some get to the stage of cap breaking out a bit more. I looked around online a bit for other possible matsutake lookalike, mostly seems to reference aminitas, of which these do not match any known one I see around here (lots of destroying angels and muscarias around here) and def not those. I took a few home for pictures, the ones on left in first shot I brushed off, the ones on right left as is.... any feedback appreciated, thanks.

 

 

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Looks like white Matsutake (Tricholoma magnivelare). I’m hoping to find these this season, no luck today. 

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I concluded that they are indeed matsutake based mostly on soil and flushing pattern and process of elimination. There are many destroying angels around here, I looked at some young ones yesterday and they all have that classic bulbous base, plus the amanita stem crushed when pressed, the matsutake are like almost like cork, you cannot crush these stems! I ended up going back and taking the smaller one, left a few large ones to hopefully spore. They are in a pretty visible location on old logging road if any forager in the know goes by. Have to assume they must be others around if this one appeared, just how far can the spores drift? I remember this area had some selective timbering about 3 years ago at which point the road was graded a bit....I am thinking the resulting mix of clay and sand then washed out a bit down the road and after several seasons of hemlock duff created the required spawning medium.

 

I cooked a few up, sliced, seared in oil, salted and ate. They are meaty, chewy and taste good. I don't get the spicy but do have a earthy flavor, moreso than king bolete for sure.

 

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I concur Vitog. No cinnamon smell...not matsutake. It is a key identifier. There are a number of tricholomas that look like matsutakes.

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I had considered  Tricholoma caligatum but seems to pair with hardwoods, these were found in dense hemlock stand with no hardwoods around. If it is a matsutake look alike then very tasty indeed. The smell of earth and body funk gets very strong when cooking, also noticeable on the taste, unlike any other mushroom I have tried, I can see how some people would not like the flavor. I don't get the spicy/cinnamon smell but probably just personal take. Also very chewy on texture but meaty, more solid than porcinis.

 I went back today and found the mothership of fruitings nearby, will update with some pics tonight.  I looked around a bit in the original site but did not find anything. As I was leaving saw a nice fat king bolete and went to look at it, then saw these nearby. Under hemlock, maybe 40 ft from the other site on the road. Probably 50 or so coming up, much larger and more advanced than the other spot but also more sunlight. Picked a big one to look at ring closer, appears to be single ring so this would seem to confirm Tricholoma magnivelare vs caligatum.

 

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In NA the name T. caligatum represents  a complex of similar species. But, one common feature seems to be that the caps should have brown scales. The T. caligatum that I find here in NE PA grows in a mix of oak/pine and tastes quite bitter. Another ringed Trich similar to the these is T. dulciolens (Champignons du Quebec). But this species also features brown scales on the cap. 

I don't find T. magnivelare in my area. The ones seen in this discussion fit the description of this species. 

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