Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Matsutake

Matsutake

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Matsutake'
Start a new discussion about 'Matsutake'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Matsutake is the common name for a highly sought after mycorrhizal mushroom
Mushroom
A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name "mushroom" is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word "mushroom" is most often applied to those fungi that...

 that grows in Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. It is prized by the Japanese for its distinct spicy-aromatic odor.

Habitat and distribution


Matsutake grow under trees and are usually concealed under fallen leaves and duff on the forest floor
Forest floor
The forest floor, also called detritus, duff and the O horizon, is one of the most distinctive features of a forest ecosystem. It mainly consists of shed vegetative parts, such as leaves, branches, bark, and stems, existing in various stages of decomposition above the soil surface...

. It forms a symbiotic relationship
Mycorrhiza
A mycorrhiza is a symbiotic association between a fungus and the roots of a vascular plant....

 with the roots of a limited number of tree species. Matsutake are known to grow in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, among other countries. In Japan it is most commonly associated with Japanese Red Pine
Japanese Red Pine
The Japanese Red Pine has a home range that includes Japan, Korea, northeastern China and the extreme southeast of Russia . This pine has become a popular ornamental and has several cultivars, but in the winter it becomes yellowish. The height of this tree is 20–35 m...

.

Similar species


In the North American Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

 Tricholoma magnivelare
Tricholoma magnivelare
Tricholoma magnivelare is a gilled mushroom found in the Pacific Northwest of North America growing in coniferous woodland. These ectomycorrhizal fungi are typically edible species which exist in a symbiotic relationship with various species of pine. They belong to the genus Tricholoma, which...

is found in coniferous forests made up of one or more of the following species: Douglas-fir
Douglas-fir
Douglas-fir is one of the English common names for evergreen coniferous trees of the genus Pseudotsuga in the family Pinaceae. Other common names include Douglas tree, and Oregon pine. There are five species, two in western North America, one in Mexico, and two in eastern Asia...

, Noble Fir
Noble Fir
Abies procera, the Noble Fir, is a western North American fir, native to the Cascade Range and Coast Range mountains of extreme northwest California and western Oregon and Washington in the United States...

, Shasta Red Fir, Sugar Pine
Sugar Pine
Pinus lambertiana, commonly known as the sugar pine or sugar cone pine, is the tallest and most massive pine, with the longest cones of any conifer...

, Ponderosa Pine
Ponderosa Pine
Pinus ponderosa, commonly known as the Ponderosa Pine, Bull Pine, Blackjack Pine, or Western Yellow Pine, is a widespread and variable pine native to western North America. It was first described by David Douglas in 1826, from eastern Washington near present-day Spokane...

 or Lodgepole Pine
Lodgepole Pine
Lodgepole Pine, Pinus contorta, also known as Shore Pine, is a common tree in western North America. Like all pines, it is evergreen.-Subspecies:...

. In California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 and parts of Oregon, it is also associated with hardwoods, including Tanoak
Tanoak
Tanoak, formerly known taxonomically as Lithocarpus densiflorus, was recently moved into a new genus, Notholithocarpus, based on multiple lines of evidence....

, Madrone, Rhododendron
Rhododendron
Rhododendron is a genus of over 1 000 species of woody plants in the heath family, most with showy flowers...

, Salal
Salal
Gaultheria shallon is a leathery-leaved shrub in the heather family , native to western North America. In English it is known as salal, shallon, or in Britain simply Gaultheria.-Ecology:...

, and Manzanita
Manzanita
Manzanita is a common name for many species of the genus Arctostaphylos. They are evergreen shrubs or small trees present in the chaparral biome of western North America, where they occur from southern British Columbia, Washington to California, Arizona and New Mexico in the United States, and...

. T. magnivelare is typically called White Matsutake as it does not feature the brown coloration of the Asian specimen.

In 1999, N. Bergius and E. Danell reported that Swedish (Tricholoma nauseosum) and Japanese matsutake (T. matsutake) are the same species. The report led to increased import of matsutake from Northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

 to Japan because of the comparable flavor and taste.

Cost and availability



Matsutake are hard to find, though simple to harvest, and, therefore, the price is very high. Domestic production of matsutake in Japan has been sharply reduced over the last 50 years due to a pine nematode
Nematode
The nematodes or roundworms are the most diverse phylum of pseudocoelomates, and one of the most diverse of all animals. Nematode species are very difficult to distinguish; over 28,000 have been described, of which over 16,000 are parasitic. It has been estimated that the total number of nematode...

 Bursaphelenchus xylophilus
Bursaphelenchus xylophilus
Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, commonly known as pine wood nematode or pine wilt nematode , is a nematode that infects pine trees and causes pine wilt...

, and it has influenced the price a great deal. The annual harvest of matsutake in Japan is now less than 1,000 tons, and the Japanese mushroom supply is largely made up by imports from China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, the North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

 (Northern California
Northern California
Northern California is the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. The San Francisco Bay Area , and Sacramento as well as its metropolitan area are the main population centers...

, Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

, Washington, and British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

), and Northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

 (Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

). The price for matsutake in the Japanese market is highly dependent on quality, availability, and origin. The Japanese matsutake at the beginning of the season, which is the highest grade, can go up to $2,000 per kilogram. In contrast, the average value for imported matsutake is about $90 per kilogram.

See also


  • Himematsutake: the "princess matsutake"
  • Medicinal mushrooms
    Medicinal mushrooms
    Medicinal mushrooms are mushrooms, or mushroom extracts, that are used or studied as possible treatments for diseases. Lentinula edodes , Grifola frondosa , Ganoderma lucidum , and Cordyceps, have a history of medicinal use spanning millennia in parts of Asia...


External links