Synops. Meth. Fung.: 145. 1801.
Common Name: puffball
Fruit body 2-9 cm tall, 2-4 cm broad, subglobose to pyriforme to elongated pyriforme, at maturity with an apical pore for spore dispersal; ground color white to pallid to pale brown; surface composed of conical spines, 1-2 mm tall, surrounded by a persistent circular row of warts; spines white to pallid to pale brown, leaving scars as they fall off.
Base well developed, forming a pseudostipe; spines and warts absent or much less prominent.
Gleba white, firm; becoming soft and yellow, then brown to dark brown and powdery as spores mature.
Spores 3-4.5 µm, globose, verrucose. Spores in deposit yellow-brown to olive-brown to dark brown.
Solitary, scattered, gregarious, to clustered on ground; widespread fall and winter.
Edible, but bland. Should be eaten only when young and firm with the gleba still pure white.
Lycoperdon perlatum, our most common puffball, is easily identified by its cream to light tan color cap with an apical pore, conical spines which fall off in age leaving scars, and well developed sterile base.
Bates, S.T. (2004). Arizona members of the Geastraceae and Lycoperdaceae (Basidiomycota, Fungi). Masters Thesis. Arizona State University: Tempe, AZ. 445 p.
Calonge, F.D. (1998). Flora Mycologica Iberica. Vol. 3. Gasteromycetes, I. Lycoperdales, Nidulariales, Phallales, Sclerodermatales, Tulostomatales. J. Cramer: Berlin, Germany. 271 p.
Kreisel, H. (1973). Die Lycoperdaceae der DDR. J. Cramer: Lehre. 201 p.
Pegler, D.N., Læssøe, T. & Spooner, B.M. (1995). British Puffballs, Earthstars, and Stinkhorns. Royal Botanic Gardens: Kew, England. 255 p.
Smith, A.H. (1949). Mushrooms in their Natural Habitats. Sawyer's Inc: Portland, OR. 626 p.
Smith, A.H. (1951). Puffballs and Their Allies in Michigan. University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, MI. 131 p.