Matsutake (Tricholoma matsutake = syn. T. nauseosum = syn. Armillaria ponderosa) is the common name for a highly sought mycorrhizalmushroom that grows in Asia, Europe, and North America. It is prized in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisine for its distinct spicy-aromatic odor.
Though simple to harvest, matsutake are hard to find because of their specific growth requirements and the rarity of appropriate forest and terrain, combined with competition from local folk and wild animals such as squirrel, rabbits and deer for the once-yearly harvest of mushrooms, causing the price to be very high at times or as low as $2 per pound for pickers when the market will bear it. Domestic production of matsutake in Japan has been sharply reduced over the last 50 years due to the pine-killing nematodeBursaphelenchus xylophilus, which has influenced the price a great deal. The annual harvest of matsutake in Japan is now less than 1,000 tons, and the Japanese mushroom supply is largely made up by imports from China, Korea, the North AmericanPacific Northwest (Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia), and Northern Europe (Sweden, Finland and Norway). The price for matsutake in the Japanese market is highly dependent on quality, availability, and origin. The Japanese matsutake at the beginning of the season, which is the highest grade, can go up to $1,000 per kilogram. In contrast, the average value for imported matsutake is about $90 per kilogram.
^Bergius, Niclas; Danell, Eric (5 November 2000). "The Swedish matsutake (Tricholoma nauseosum syn. T. matsutake): Distribution, Abundance and Ecology". Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research. 15 (3): 318–325. doi:10.1080/028275800447940.