Flying Squirrels, Spotted Owls, and Truffles

Jim McKenney
Sun, 18 Feb 2018 17:22:01 PST
Tim, I think I sense some cherry picking in your definition of  truffle.The wikipedia definition is " A truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean Ascomycete fungus, predominantly one of the many species of the genus Tuber."Note that the definition first places all truffles among the ascomycetes. The phrase "predominantly one of the many species of the genus Tuber" is there to indicate that there are other ascomycete genera which are truffles.  It does not indicate that there are other truffles which are not ascomycetes. 
The wikipedia concept of truffle is the one which has been used for hundreds of years by mycologists and gastronomes 
The Field Guide concept of  "subterranean fruiting fungi with indigestible spores" seems to ignore traditional mycological taxonomy and snub its nose at tradition. There is no law which requires vernacular concepts to be coextensive with botanical nomenclature, but when they are not, there's confusion. Try matching the word thistle with one botanical concept. 
It seems to me that the authors of the field guide are promoting confusion. They should have coined a new word for "subterranean fruiting fungi with indigestible spores". Now, when we talk about truffles, we'll have to ask which concept is in play, the traditional concept or the field guide concept. 
Jim McKenney

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