Fancy groceries: Mastsutake

Matsutake is an edible mushroom of the highest order. However, the smell is peculiar, so Matsutake is often disliked in Europe and America. The scientific name is “Tricholoma matsutake (S. Ito et Imai) Sing.”, meaning “Stinky mushroom” in Latin. It grows chiefly in autumn.

There are the provinces where the matsutake mushroom grows in the rainy season and is called “Samatsu”. The surface of the cap of a mushroom is brown, and the underside is ash color. First, it opens from a half globular, and the diameter is about 10 cm.

It is Agaricales Tricholomataceae. Matsutake are known to grow in China, Japan, Korea, Finland, Sweden, among other countries. In 1999, N. Bergius and E. Danell reported that Swedish (Tricholoma nauseosum) and Japanese matsutake (T. matsutake) are the same species. Recently, the matsutake mushroom is shipped from Sichuan and Yunnan in China. However, this host is not a forest of pine but the beech family. The research on the ecology and the classification is being conducted now.

In Japan it is most commonly associated with Japanese Red Pine. However in the North American Pacific Northwest it is found in coniferous forests made up of one or more of the following species: Douglas-fir, Noble Fir, Shasta Red Fir, Sugar Pine, Ponderosa Pine or Lodgepole Pine. In California and parts of Oregon, it is also associated with hardwoods, including Tanoak, Madrone, Rhododendron, not a hardwood, and Manzanita.

Matsutake grow under trees and are usually concealed under fallen leaves and duff on the forest floor. It forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots of a limited number of tree species. But it can rarely form in a forest of black pine. Matsutake do not grow in the case that the accumulation of fall sticks and leaves and so on bring on the high level of nutrition and leaf mold. Its enemy is Yellow bird’s-nest. Now, it is not possible to form it. Therefore, what grow naturally is harvested.

Matsutake form a symbion of an ectomycorrhiza to the root of Tricholoma pine. Matsutake absorb an assimilatory product. Recently the study has discovered these of mutualism. A fruiting body of Matsutake typically forms a ring-shaped spolony and called is “Shiro”. Under Shiro, a mycelium, body of Matsutake, grows and the soil is white.

It is necessary that we are careful enough of gathering and classification, and purchase. The reason is that many mushroom are a member of the same class. But in Japan a poisonous mushroom can’t be found. So we think that we can eat Matsutake if we can recognaize the characteristic of smell. Yet it is difficulty for us to get Matsutake and later long time it loses its good smell and taste.

In Japan it makes various dishes. For example, soup and barbecue, rice cooked with matsutake, sake, and soy sauce and so on. The toxic symptoms such as the severe vomiting, the sickness, and diarrhea happen when it eats the mushroom that are old.

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Bio2010

Students of Kochi National University English for Biology class, 2010

One thought on “Fancy groceries: Mastsutake”

  1. Matutake is very nice taste and smell. But very expensive. It is regrettable.

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