When I was chatting to a mother at school drop off about mushrooms I never suspected that one of the mushrooms she was mentioning to me would turn out to be Boletus edulis – the much coveted Porcini mushroom! But photos demonstrating heavily reticulated stout stipes on obvious boletes growing under Oak were highly suggestive of the species and after looking at specimens first hand including one still attached to the ground I can confirm that Porcini do indeed grow at the Big Moon Harvest Farm in Cockatoo in the Dandenong Ranges.
With the age of some of the established oaks throughout the Dandenongs at locations like Emerald, The Patch, Olinda and Ferny Creek I guess it is no surprise that perhaps dormant mycorrhizal passengers lurked on their root systems. Rumours of porcini in the past in Victoria have floated around – the high country, Macedon (where a specimen was sent to the Royal Botanical Gardens for DNA) and a few other locations but there is a difference between rumours and actually seeing parts of one in the flesh.
We have dried fragments of one of these specimens that will be sent for DNA extraction and sequencing and will have the .aps file available if anyone is interested once we received the results.
Thanks to Myles O’Dwyer and Sarah Weatherley for these amazing photos and this amazing development. Keep an eye on your local Oaks!