Only five matsutake mushrooms have been found in Austria. They are highly sought after and prized by the Japanese and Chinese for their distinct spicy-aromatic smell.
In Japan, early season matsutake, which are the highest grade, can sell for up to €1,500 per kilogram.
The Graz team recognized the mushroom immediately. "It exudes a special, sweet and intoxicating scent," expedition leader Gernot Friebes said.
It is now being examined at Graz University, and will be cut up, dried and stored as a specimen.
"It is proof that this mushroom can be found here, and will be studied for scientific purposes," Friebes said.