False truffle, or Bruma melanogaster, is a mushroom belonging to the Pig family. It owes its name to an English mycologist who lived in the 19th century. It is inedible. This species has nothing to do with truffles, since it belongs to a completely different taxon. His closest relatives are pigs.
What false truffle mushrooms look like
It is a spherical tuber with a diameter of 1 to 8 cm. Irregularly shaped "tubers" are often found. Relatively soft to the touch. When compressed, they quickly restore their original shape. A photo of a false truffle is shown below:
The cut shows a characteristic cellular structure
The outer shell, or peridium, in young mushrooms is similar to a potato skin. Its color can be yellow or brownish-yellow. As it grows, it changes to a darker one. Older specimens may even turn black. The peridium is usually smooth, but there are also types covered with a mesh texture. In some cases, the peridium may be felt.
The inner part of the fruiting body, also called "gleba", has a gelatinous consistency. However, it is firm enough. In young specimens, its color is light brown. With age, it darkens, becoming first dark brown and then completely black.
Whole and cut false double tubers
Gleb is a kind of sponge, the cavities of which are filled with a gelatinous substance. The interlayers inside can be white, yellow or gray.
One of the features of the false double is its rather pleasant smell with fruity notes. It also often confuses inexperienced mushroom pickers who mistake it for the real one.
In addition, a false truffle is often understood as another type of mushroom - deer truffle or parga. This is a representative of another family - Elaphomycetes. It also has nothing to do with edible mushrooms.
A distinctive feature of parga is the granular structure of peridium
The mushroom got its name because it is eaten with pleasure by deer and other animals, for example, squirrels and hares. Its fruiting bodies are up to 15 cm in diameter and are located in the upper layers of the soil.
Where truffle-like mushrooms grow
The range of the toadstool truffle is very extensive. The mushroom can be found in many regions of Europe and Asia, as well as in North America. In Russia, it is especially abundant in the Novosibirsk region, in Kazakhstan, it grows in the Almaty region.
Prefers deciduous forests with acidic and neutral soils. Less commonly found in mixed. In coniferous forests, populations of this species are extremely rare (the exception is the previously mentioned Novosibirsk).
Unlike its expensive and edible namesake, which grows deep underground, this species forms fruiting bodies exclusively in the upper layers of the soil. It can often be found right on the ground under a layer of fallen leaves. Mushrooms are distinguished by early ripening - the first specimens appear already at the beginning of June. By mid-July, fruiting ends, and the mycelium no longer forms new specimens.
Reindeer truffle is much more widespread than false truffle. It is found almost everywhere from the tropics to the subarctic.
Can you eat false truffles?
Formally, a false truffle is not a deadly poisonous mushroom. But you cannot eat it. Its taste is unpleasant, and even in small quantities, it can cause serious distress. The consumption of a large amount of such a "delicacy" will cause serious food poisoning. In addition, there are not many people who want to eat gleb, even after processing, because of its appearance.
Important! Reindeer truffle is also inedible for humans. However, in some countries it is consumed in small amounts as an aphrodisiac.
How to distinguish false truffles
The main difference between the original mushroom and its false counterparts is aroma and taste. But even without gastronomic experiments, it is possible to establish the belonging of a mushroom to a particular species without any problems.
The main difference is that black or white truffles that are eaten form deep (up to 50 cm to 1 m) underground, and all false twins bear fruit exclusively on the soil surface. In addition, eaten mushrooms are hard, and their inedible counterparts can be easily deformed with your fingers.
The original truffle has a solid body and a coarse-grained peridium
False truffle is an inedible mushroom that can sometimes be confused with the original black or white truffle due to its smell. In fact, this species even belongs to another family. The false double is not eaten, since it has a very unpleasant taste and in large quantities causes serious gastrointestinal upset.