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13 November 2014

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You are in: Norfolk > Nature > Nature Features > Rare truffle found in Norfolk

Tuber Macrosporum truffle

Tuber Macrosporum truffles

Rare truffle found in Norfolk

A truffle thought to be of the Tuber Macrosporum variety, which has not been seen in Britain since 1911, has been discovered in Wymondham, Norfolk.

Scientists have been getting very excited about a rare truffle that has been found in Norfolk.

A Tuber Macrosporum truffle hasn't been seen in the UK for nearly 100 years, but it was found in a garden on Thursday, 9 October, 2008, in Wymondham, Norfolk.

Dr Peter Roberts

Dr Peter Roberts

"It's really a question of looking for them. The one in Norfolk was found accidentally while clearing a garden. Since they grow underneath leaves, they are not too easy to find except by accident," said senior Mycologist, Dr Peter Roberts from The Royal Botanic Gardens.

A sample has been sent to the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) in Kew, London, to be logged.

"They are usually fairly distinct - they have a certain aroma to them. They used to be hunted in Britain until the 1930's with truffle dogs. They can fetch quite large sums of money, but not this one unfortunately," said Dr Roberts.

"I've tasted the white truffle in Italy and it really has a strong smell to it. If people don't like it, they say it smells sweaty. It's also supposed to smell of wild boar pheromone, so it really attracts animals," he added.

Facts about Tuber Macrosporum truffles

Fungi can be classed as a truffle if it grows underground. It is thought they evolved to grow underground to avoid harsh weather conditions, which leaves many normal fungi exposed.

Tuber Macrosporum truffles

The truffles compared to a penny piece

Only four sightings had ever been calculated before 1911.

The truffle survives by absorbing proteins, carbohydrates and organic nutrients from tree roots. Trees then benefit from the phosphorus the truffles produce.

The truffles have an incredibly pungent smell, often similar to walnuts.

They are thought to have aphrodisiac powers.

They are rarely edible, unlike popular varieties such as the Summer Truffle.

last updated: 21/10/2008 at 17:40
created: 21/10/2008

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