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Puffballs (Lycoperdon spp. and Calvatia spp.)

Other Names:

N/A

Range:

Family:

Lycoperdaceae

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

Puffballs can be enormous; sometimes up to 2 feet in diameter. Depending on their size, puffballs can be mistaken for everything from golf balls to soccer balls. These round or pear-shaped mushrooms are almost always whitish, tan or gray and may or may not have a stalk-like base. The surface can be smooth to rough or scaly. The interior of a young choice puffball is solid white; as the mushroom ages the interior gradually turns yellow, then brown. Finally, at the end of its life cycle, the interior changes to a mass of dark, powdery spores.

Cap:

No true cap. A large ball shaped fruit. 8 - 20" wide, sometimes larger; round or nearly so, with root-like attachment; smooth, kidlike, cracking irregularly; no pore formed at top; white. spore mass white, becoming yellow-green to greenish-brown; no sterile base evident.

Stem:

None

Gills:

None

Spores:

3.5-5.5 µ; round, smooth to minutely warted, greenish-brown.

Spore Print:

N/A

Height:

Up to 20" round

Miscellaneous characteristics:

N/A

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms Description:

Huge, white, smooth sphere, cracking irregularly at maturity; interior white, becoming yellowish-green to brownish.

Mushroom: 8 - 20" wide, sometimes larger; round or nearly so, with root-like attachment; smooth, kidlike, cracking irregularly; no pore formed at top; white. spore mass white, becoming yellow-green to greenish-brown; no sterile base evident.

Spores: 3.5-5.5 µ; round, smooth to minutely warted, greenish-brown

Season:

Late May - mid July; August - October.

Habitat:

Single or in arc or fairy rings, in open woods, pastures, parks, or lawns.

Parts Used:

Text

Cautions:

It is important to cut a puffball down the center. You want to make sure the interior is bright white, and has no sighs of any yellow or brown areas. More importantly, it is important to make sure there is not the indication of a developing mushroom with cap, gills, and stem within the mushroom. If there is, you have the extremely poisonous Amanita spp.

Uses:

Wild Food Uses:

Enjoy sliced and sautéed, or substitute for eggplant in your next eggplant parmesan.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

None Known

Medicinal Actions:

N/A

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea)

Umber-Brown Puffball (Lycoperdon umbrinum)

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield