Rare Winter Black Truffle Discovered Growing In An Unlikely Location

12_23_Winter Truffle
People sell truffles at a truffle market, on November 27, 2017 in Sainte-Alvere, near Bordeaux southwestern France, at the opening of the annual Dordogne winter market. Mehdi Fedouach/AFP/Getty Images

A French scientist stumbled upon what's thought to be a first-of-a-kind discovery in Paris: a wild truffle growing on a rooftop.

Typically, the edible mushroom is only able to thrive in a Mediterranean climate, but Frederic Madre—an urban ecology researcher—found the fungus growing at a hotel near the Eiffel Tower.

"The discovery of this wild truffle is a wonderful example of how roof gardens and green roofs have a huge potential for urban biodiversity," the Museum of Natural History in Paris, which confirmed the finding on Friday, said, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports.

The newly discovered winter black truffle weighs about 0.9-ounces and can be sold for a hefty price—about $6,000 per kilo (2.2 pounds) for some versions, according to AFP. However, in this case, it was donated to science.

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Truffles—which are often used to add flavor to cooked risotto or pasta—are usually found by dogs or pigs trained to sniff out the underground mushroom, but Madre found it all on his own, underneath a hornbeam tree.

"What is remarkable is that it takes two spores coming together for a truffle to grow. This shows that it could happen again and that it might be possible to cultivate truffles on Paris roofs," Marc-Andre Selosse, a mushroom expert at the Museum of Natural History, told AFP.

Upon discovering the tasty treasure, Madre contacted mushroom specialists at the French Institute of Systematics, Evolution, and Biodiversity, in order to confirm his finding. They concluded it was from the species Tuber brumale. It's an edible truffle that grows in the same conditions as it's even more expensive cousin, the French black truffle, according to a statement from the museum.

It raises many questions, such as: "How did this mushroom get there? What are the particular micro-climatic conditions that allowed it to develop, at the very foot of the Eiffel Tower? Is it a good indicator of the environmental health of the Paris ecosystem?" the museum notes.

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Madre is is the co-founder of a startup called Topager, which has planted several gardens on major buildings throughout the French capital. In the future he plans to install a garden to the roof of the Opera Bastille, a modern theatre which seats more than 2,700 people.

Rare Winter Black Truffle Discovered Growing In An Unlikely Location | Tech & Science