Fung. Bavar. Palat. 4: 128. 1774.
Common Name: pear-shaped puffball
Synonym: Morganella pyriformis (Schaeff.: Pers.) Kreisel & D. Krüger
Fruiting body up to 4.5 cm tall, 3.5 cm broad, pyriform to subglobose, usually with a well-developed, pleated sterile base and conspicuous white rhizomorphs; exoperidium when young, cream, pale-tan to ochre-brown, the surface spinulose to minutely warted, (nearly smooth to the unaided eye); with age and exposure, often medium-brown to dark-reddish-brown, the ornamentation then granulose to slightly areolate; exoperidium persistent until senescence; endoperidium membranous, glabrous, pale-tan to ochre-brown; gleba at first white, soft, yellowish to yellowish-olive, at maturity olive-brown; fruiting body dehiscing via a late-forming apical pore; subgleba white, finely-textured, unchanging; odor and taste strongly fungal.
Spores 3.5-4.5 µm, globose, smooth, moderately thick-walled, with a central oil droplet, pedicel absent; capillitium lacking pits; spores medium-brown in deposit.
Scattered to clustered on well-rotted stumps and woody debris, e.g. wood chips; also on lignin-rich soils; fruiting from after the fall rains to mid-winter; widely distributed and common
Edible when immature and the gleba still white.
One difference Lycoperdon pyriforme has from other Lycoperdons is its preference for lignicolous substrates rather than soil. Fruitings are frequently clustered on old stumps and logs and have conspicuous rhizomorphs. The species epithet, which means "pear-shaped," should not be taken literally as globose forms occur along with typical fruiting bodies. Color and ornamentation are also variable. Young specimens developing in the shade are usually cream-colored with minute brown warts and spines, while older specimens exposed to drying may be dark-brown to reddish-brown, with a granular ornamentation. When fruiting in lignin-rich soils, Lycoperdon pyriforme can be confused with several Lycoperdon species, particularly L. perlatum, L. umbrinum, and L. molle. Lycoperdon perlatum occasionally occurs in clusters, but has larger conical spines which leave circular scars on the endoperium and a colored, not white subgleba in age; Lycoperdon umbrinum is a sooty-brown puffball fruiting solitary to scattered, with a more coarsely textured, grey-brown subgleba at maturity; Lycoperdon molle is a brownish puffball that also fruits scattered or in small groups, and like the previous two species, has a colored, more coarsely textured subgleba.
Bates, S.T. (2004). Arizona members of the Geastraceae and Lycoperdaceae (Basidiomycota, Fungi). Masters Thesis. Arizona State University: Tempe, AZ. 445 p.
Breitenbach, J. & Kränzlin, F. (1986). Fungi of Switzerland. Volume 2: Non-Gilled Fungi. Verlag Mykologia: Luzern, Switzerland. 412 p.
Calonge, F.D. (1998). Flora Mycologica Iberica. Vol. 3. Gasteromycetes, I. Lycoperdales, Nidulariales, Phallales, Sclerodermatales, Tulostomatales. J. Cramer: Berlin, Germany. 271 p.
Coker, W.C. & Couch, J.N. (1974). The Gasteromycetes of the Eastern United States and Canada. Dover Publications, Inc: New York, NY. 201 p.
Desjardin, D.E., Wood, M.G. & Stevens, F.A. (2015). California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide. Timber Press: Portland, OR. 560 p.
Ellis, M.B. & Ellis, J.P. (1990). Fungi without Gills (Hymenomycetes and Gasteromycetes). Chapman and Hall: London, England. 329 p.
Jarvis, S.S. (2014). The Lycoperdaceae of California. Masters thesis. San Francisco State University: San Francisco, CA. 336 p.
Kreisel, H. (1973). Die Lycoperdaceae der DDR. J. Cramer: Lehre. 201 p.
Moreno, G., Lizárraga, M., Esqueda, M. & Coronado, M.L. (2010). Contribution to the study of gasteroid and secotioid fungi of Chihuahua, Mexico. Mycotaxon 112(1): 291-315.
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.