Trisha Shetty (Editor)


Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Kingdom  Fungi
Subphylum  Pezizomycotina
Scientific name  Terfeziaceae
Rank  Family
Division  Ascomycota
Order  Pezizales
Higher classification  Pezizales
Terfeziaceae staticpanoramiocomphotoslarge23976255jpg

Similar  Terfezia, Helianthemum, Pezizales, Tuberaceae, Pezizaceae

Buscando criadillas terfezia claveryi

The Terfeziaceae, or desert truffles, is a family of truffles (Arabic: كمأ Kamā') endemic to arid and semi-arid areas of the Mediterranean Region, North Africa, and the Middle East, where they live in ectomycorrhizal association with Helianthemum species and other ectomycorrhizal plants (including Cistus, oaks, and pines). This group consists of three genera: Terfezia, Tirmania, and Mattirolomyces. They are a few centimetres across and weigh from 30 to 300 grams (1-10 oz). Desert truffles are often used as a culinary ingredient.


Terfeziaceae Terfeziaceae Wikipedia

Family description

Terfeziaceae Feb 11 Photo Brief

Fruit-bodies (ascomata) are large, more or less spherical to turbinate (like a top), thick-walled, and solid. The asci are formed in marbled veins interspersed with sterile tissue. The asci are cylindrical to spherical, indehiscent (not splitting open at maturity), and sometimes stain blue in iodine. Ascospores are hyaline to pale brown, spherical, and uninucleate.

Habitat and ecology

Terfeziaceae Truffle Mushroom Keme Geme Terfeziaceae Desert Truffle Buy Truffle

Desert truffles, as the name suggests, predominantly grow in the desert. They have been found in arid and semi-arid zones of the Kalahari desert, the Mediterranean basin, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, the Sahara, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Libya, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, Croatia, and China. It is commonly said that they are formed where lightning strikes the desert sands, since they are not the most common of fungi (thus justifying their cost).

Culinary use and commercial importance

Terfeziaceae Terfezia Tirmania Kalaharituber the desert truffle Tom Volk39s

Desert truffles do not have the same flavor as European truffles, but tend to be more common and thus more affordable. Forest truffles (Tuber genus) typically cost $100 per kilogram, and Italian truffles may sell for up to $2200 per kilogram, while Terfezia truffles sold as of 2002 in Riyadh for $80 to $105 a kilo, and in recent years have reached, but not yet exceeded, $270.

Vernacular names

Terfeziaceae Truffle Mushroom Keme Geme Terfeziaceae Desert Truffle Buy Fresh

Desert truffles go by several different names. In Iran they are called Donbalan, In Turkey they are called Domalan in Central Anatolia and Keme on the Syrian border. In Algeria they are called terfez, the Bedouin of the Western Desert call them terfas. The Kuwaitis call them fagga, the Saudis faq'h, and in Syria, and in Libya terfase, they are known by their classical Arabic name, kamaa. Iraqis call them kamaa, kima or chima, depending on local dialects and in Oman they are either faqah or zubaydi. The Hebrew word is kmehin. In southern Spain, they are known as turmas or criadillas and in the Canary Islands they are known as Papas Crias. In Botswana they are called mahupu. In Iran; they are called Dombal. The Nama-Damara call them !Nabas, where they are also known as the "Kalahari truffle".

In Saudi Arabia, there are two varieties; khalasi are oval with a black skin and a pinkish-ivory interior, and zubaidi have a cream colour but are generally more expensive.

In oceanic countries, there is some confusion regarding the desert truffle, as the yam is often referred to as the common desert truffle as well.

Species list

  • Terfezia arenaria
  • Terfezia boudieri
  • Terfezia claveryi
  • Terfezia leptoderma
  • Terfezia terfezioides - phylogenetic analyses based on nuclear rDNA sequences strongly suggest that this species be reassigned to the original monotypic genus Mattirolomyces.
  • Tirmania nivea
  • Tirmania pinoyi
  • References

    Terfeziaceae Wikipedia