Mycologia 39(3): 300. 1947.
Common Name: none
Synonyms: Handkia fumosa (Zeller) Kreisel; Gastropila fumosa (Zeller) P. Ponce de León
Fruiting body sessile, up to 4.0 cm tall, 5.0 cm broad, subglobose to cushion-shaped, the base often flattened, pleated, attached to the substrate via a mycelial cord; exoperidium when young, approximately 1.0 mm thick, whitish, minutely matted-tomentose (use hand lens), soon tinged light-brown to grey-brown, occasionally dark-brown, becoming patchy areolate, sometimes deeply incised in dry weather; endoperidium persistent with the exoperidium, up to 3.0 mm thick when fresh, hard and rigid when dry; spores released via cracks in the peridium or from rodent-gnawed holes; gleba when young, soft, white, becoming pale yellow-brown, then medium to dark-brown; odor often unpleasant during glebal maturation, powdery when dry; taste of immature gleba mild; subgleba and sterile base absent.
Spores 4.5-6.5 µm, globose, warted at 400X, coarsely so at 1000X, moderately thick-walled, with a central oil droplet, some with a short < 1.0 µm hyaline pedicel; capillitium with slit-like pores.
Solitary to scattered under montane conifers during the spring; common.
Calvatia fumosa is a golf ball-sized puffball found at higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada. It is recognized by a thick, hard, greyish-brown exterior that varies from nearly glabrous to finely cracked. Additional identifying features include a basal mycelial cord and coarsely ornamented spores. It is often found with Lycoperdon subcretaceum, another small, thick-walled puffball. The two species are normally easily told apart, Lycoperdon subcretaceum having a surface of pointed, grey-brown tipped warts. Strongly areolate specimens of Calvatia fumosa may resemble L. subcretaceum but can be distinguished by their different attachment to the substrate and spore ornamentation.
Desjardin, D.E., Wood, M.G. & Stevens, F.A. (2015). California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide. Timber Press: Portland, OR. 560 p.
Kreisel, H. (1989). Studies in the Calvatia complex (Basidiomycetes). Nova Hedwigia 48(3-4): 281-296.
Zeller, S.M. (1947). More notes on Gasteromycetes. Mycologia 39: 282-312. (Protologue)
Zeller, S.M. & Smith, A.H. (1964). The genus Calvatia in North America. Lloydia 27: 148-180.