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Matsutake (Chinese and Japanese: , Korean: (Songyi), pine mushroom, Tricholoma matsutake = syn. T. nauseosum) is the common name for a highly sought-after mycorrhizal mushroom that grows in Asia, Europe, and North America. It is prized in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisine for its distinct spicy-aromatic odor.
Habitat and distribution
Matsutake grow under trees and are usually concealed under duff on the forest floor free of non-symbiotic trees, e.g. broad-leaved. It forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots of a limited number of tree species. Matsutake are known to grow in Canada, China, Estonia, Finland, Japan, Korea, Laos, Norway, the United States, and Sweden, among other countries. In Korea and Japan, it is most commonly associated with Pinus densiflora.
In the North American Pacific Northwest Tricholoma magnivelare is found in coniferous forests made up of one or more of the following species: Douglas fir, Noble Fir, Shasta Red Fir, Sugar Pine, Ponderosa Pine, or Lodgepole Pine. In California and parts of Oregon, it is also associated with hardwoods, including Tanoak, Madrone, Rhododendron, Salal, and Manzanita. In northeastern North America, the mushroom is generally found in Jack Pine forests. T. magnivelare is typically called White Matsutake as it does not feature the brown coloration of the Asian specimen.
A report published in 2000 indicates that Tricholoma nauseosum and matsutake (T. matsutake) are the same species. The report led to increased export of matsutake from northern Europe to Japan because of the comparable flavor and taste.