The mushrooms have short stalks and can be white or brown, with rusty coloured blotches.
They are harvested from the wild by hand by rocking them to loosen them (if cut instead, they have a far lower value.)
Deer love them, and fly maggots and worms often infest them.
Attempts to domesticate them have proved unsuccessful as of 2004.
The mushrooms have a firm, chewy texture, and a spicy, clean smell and taste. They are very expensive.
The unique taste can be destroyed by frying. They are better roasted or grilled.
Freezes well, but dries poorly — loses all its aroma.
Matsutake means “pine mushroom” in Japanese. “Armillaria ponderosa” is the older scientific name for it.