Edibility: Unknown

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday, 17 December 2014 09:53

It's been a while, I've been taking a break off natural history of late, partly due to the season and partly due to circumstances. CrossFit has taken up the slack though, I got my first muscle-ups last week! Anyways, this is still a wildlife blog...

During our department Christmas walk I spotted what looked like little earthballs partially buried in the soil. They didn't look quite right for them though, they appeared 'lightly dusted in cocoa powder', like handmade chocolate truffles. I refrained from putting one in my mouth but was struck by how they lacked any suggestion of a stype (stem). In the hand it felt and looked like a really light pebble. I cracked one open and it was full of gooey black stuff.

We are carrying out a great deal of felling, scraping and disturbance at Graffham and it struck me we may have brought these things up from the top soil. Were they a kind of truffle?! Well almost, I believe these are False Truffles Elaphomyces granulatus. Seldom recorded as they grow beneath the surface in pine woods, they are usually spotted by the presence of the Cordyceps fungus that parisitises them. Of course, these ones were brought up by the earth works and probably washed clean by recent showers, giving them the appearance of growing on the surface. The texts say simply edibility unknown...

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