Desert Truffles of the African Kalahari: Ecology, Ethnomycology, and Taxonomy
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- Trappe, J.M., Claridge, A.W., Arora, D. et al. Econ Bot (2008) 62: 521. doi:10.1007/s12231-008-9027-6
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Desert Truffles of the African Kalahari: Ecology, Ethnomycology, and Taxonomy. The Khoisan people of the Kalahari Desert have used truffles for centuries. The extreme conditions in which desert truffles grow means that they fruit only sporadically when adequate and properly distributed rainfall occurs, and then only where suitable soil and mycorrhizal hosts occur. Truffles are hunted in the Kalahari by men and women; they look for cracks in the soil, often humped, caused by expansion of the truffles, which are then extracted with hands or digging sticks. The truffles are eaten raw or cooked (boiled, roasted over fire, or buried in hot ashes). Commercial harvest of Kalahari truffles has increased in the last decade and the quantities harvested have been observed to be declining where livestock have been concentrated.