Jan. 4, 2020



  • They are sometimes called "pine mushrooms" due to their association with certain types of pine trees.
  • Pine mushrooms begin their lives looking pure white and smooth, they soon develop brown spots and scales.
  • Their caps are usually around 2 to 8 inches across (5 to 20 cm) and convex. When the mushroom is young, the caps have a distinct curl to their edges.
  • Stems are 2 to 6 inches (4 to 15 cm) tall and are firm throughout, never hollow. The stems often have an interesting two-toned look, with the area below the ring displaying their brownish discolorations, and the area above being pure white.
  • These mushrooms have a ring around the stem, which is a remnant of their partial veil. The partial veil is a layer of tissue that runs from the outer edge of the cap and connects to the stem. Its function is to protect the developing gills when the mushroom is young.
  • Their spore print is white.
  • Matsutake are most commonly found in North America in California and the Pacific Northwest. However, they are known to grow in other places such as Japan, Korea, China, and the Northern European countries of Sweden and Finland.
    • Pine mushrooms are mycorrhizal partners with various species of trees (more on this below). They are mainly found under pine and fir trees, but sometimes under hardwoods such as oaks or tanoaks.
    • They start popping up in late summer and fall (Sep-Oct) in cooler climates and winter (through Jan) in warmer climates.
    • As with so many mushrooms, the Latin naming convention isn't always so cut and dry. Asian and Northern European species are referred to as Tricholoma matsutake, while North American mushrooms are often called Tricholoma magnivelare. At this point it is unclear whether these are actually the same species.