Australia has a lot of native truffles that actually feed our native animals. Native truffles work in much the same way as our cultivated truffles do and are incredibly important to the health of the forest by forming a symbiotic relationship with our eucalypts. They supply some nutrients to the tree and in turn they receive some nutrients also. Truffles need animals to disperse their spores. Once there were a lot of small to medium animals like bandicoots, potoroo’s and bettongs to do this, now we only have the wallaby to thank for eating and dispersing the truffle spores throughout our local forests.
Many thanks to Geoff Park for allowing me to feature his fantastic photo of a hefty male Swamp or Black Wallaby holding a native truffle in his paws. Looks like he is doing a great job of dispersing the native truffle spores.
At the recent Australian Truffle Growers Association AGM & Conference we again had the pleasure of Dr Jim Trappe from USA speaking on the work that he is carrying out in Australia with Celeste Lind and her team in Canberra. Part of what they had done was to place truffle scent out and to photograph what animals were attracted to that scent. An echidna was one of those and this was something that was not expected. Having said that formic acid is the 2nd highest volatile in truffle aroma……….so of course the echidna thought that it might have been breakfast!!