Daniel Newberry's excellent article in the May 2013 Jefferson Monthly (The Members' Magazine of The Jefferson Public Radio Listeners Guild) entitled "Biodiversity on the Frontier" offered information on truffle discoveries in one of the world's most biodiverse areas: the Klamath-Siskiyou region.
Scott Loring, an Ashland-based botany consultant, recently discovered a new genus of truffle and assisted a colleague in the identification of a second previously unknown truffle. Both findings are expected to be published this spring. At its most basic level, a truffle is an underground mushroom, with spores dispersed by the animals that eat them and disturb the soil, unlike the windblown spores of mushrooms. Fungi, says Loring, are on the cutting edge of biodiversity. "With truffles it's a relatively easy thing to find new species because nobody ever sees these things, they're all underground, so you actually have to get out and look for them, rake the ground." You'll know a truffle, he adds, because they look "A bit like little potatoes, that at first look like a rock or a clump of dirt, and come in a whole rainbow of colors."
Truffles come in
a variety of sizes and shapes.