Elite life



   Lycoperdon is a genus of puffball mushrooms. It, in general contains the smaller species such as the pear shaped puffball and the gem studded puffball. Most of the time they grow from dead wood and if they grow through the ground they usually indicate that wood is buried.


Gem-Studded Puffball, Devil's Snuff-Box (Lycoperdon perlatum)

   It grows on the ground, which helps separate it from Morganella pyriformis, which grows on wood. It has a fairly substantial stem, which makes the shape of the mushroom rather like an inverted pear. And, when young and fresh, it is covered with tiny spines. The spines often rub off by maturity, but they usually leave little scars where they were attached. Like many other puffballs, Lycoperdon perlatum is edible when young and fresh. The flesh of young specimens is white and fairly firm. Growing alone, scattered, gregariously, or in clusters; in woods under hardwoods or conifers, but also common along roadsides and in urban settings; rarely on very decayed wood; summer and fall in temperate regions, almost year-round in California and along the Gulf Coast; very widely distributed and common. Distribution: America and Europe. Season summer to late autumn.
   Fruit body 2.5-6 cm across, 2-9 cm high, subglobose with a distinct stem, white at first becoming yellowish brown, outer layer of short pyramidal warts especially dense on the head, rubbing off to leave an indistinct mesh-like pattern on the inner wall which opens by a pore. Gleba olive-brown at maturity; sterile base spongy, occupying the stem. Spores olivaceous-brown, globose, minutely warted, 3.5-4.5 μm.

Venus Puffball (Lycoperdon mammiforme)

   Habitat in frondose woods on chalk soil. Season summer to autumn. Edibile when the flesh is pure white. Found In Europe.
   Fruit body 4-7cm across, 4-9 cm high, subglobose with a broad umbo, tapering into a short stem, white at first then ochre-brown, outer wall breaking into large white or creamy cottony scales and leaving a ring-like zone around the base of the swollen head, inner wall thin and papery, opening by a central pore. Gleba finally dark purplish-brown; sterile base spongy, well developed. Spores chocolate brown, globose, warted, 4-5 μm in diameter.

Lycoperdon marginatum, Lycoperdon candidum

   Habitat on sandy soil. Very common. Found widespread throughout North America. Season June-October. Edible.
   Fruit body 1-5 cm high, globose, sometimes with a small rooting base; white becoming brownish; with an outer covering of pointed warts or spines, which fall away in irregular sheets, exposing the olive-brown inner wall, or endoperidium. Spore mass olive to gray-brown. Sterile base well developed, chambers about 1 mm across, capillitial threads 3-6 μm wide. Spores globose, minutely ornamented, olive-brown, 3.5-4.2 x 3.5-4.2 μm.

Lycoperdon molle

   Habitat on soil or humus in deciduous or coniferous forests. Frequent but not abundant. Found widely distributed in North America. Season August-October. Edible when flesh completely white.
   Fruit body 1-4 cm across, 6cm high, usually pear-shaped; grayish brown to milky-coffee colored; minutely spiny or granular. Spore mass white, dark brown in maturity; inner spore case opening by a wide, irregular pore. Sterile base has large chambers; sometimes wide and sometimes narrowed to a distinct stalk. Spores globose, 3.5-5 x 3.5-5 μm.

Black Puffball (Lycoperdon nigrescens, Lycoperdon foetidum)

   As the species name suggests, the most obvious field character of this puffball is its dark, almost black color. Presumably edible when immature with a whitish interior; untried locally. Habitat: Solitary to scattered on soil, partially covered with woody debris or duff; fruiting from late fall to mid-winter in conifer woods.
   Sporocarp: Fruiting body 2.0-4.0 cm tall, 2.5-3.0 cm broad, pear-shaped, tapering to a narrow sterile base; exoperdium blackish-brown, a mixture of straight or connivent, short spines and furfuraceous granules; endoperidium thin, membranous, buff-brown to ochre-brown; fruiting body dehiscing via an apical pore; gleba whitish, becoming yellowish-olive, in age dull olive-brown or dark ochre-brown, firm to elastic in texture; subgleba taking up to one half the fruiting body, finely chambered, pale grey to brown, sometimes tinged purple.
   Spores: Spores 3-5.5 μm, globose to subglobose, thick-walled, echinulate, with a large central body, often with a short, 1 μm pedicel; spores dull olive-brown in deposit; capillitium slender, occasionally branched 3.0-5.5 μm thick, pores variable, mostly round to elongate.

Stump Puffball (Lycoperdon pyriforme, Morganella pyriformis)

   Habitat in groups or swarms on rotten logs or stumps, often appearing to grow in soil but in reality attached to buried wood by the characteristic white mycelial cords. Season summer to late autumn. Common. Edible when young. Distribution, America and Europe.
   Fruit body 1.5-4 cm across, 3.5 cm high, subglobose to club-shaped, attached to the substrate by mycelial strands, whitish at first finally yellowish- or greyish-brown, outer layer of scurfy spines, warts, or granules, inner wall becoming smooth and papery, opening by an apical pore. Gleba olive-brown; sterile base occupying the stem spongy, but the cavities forming rather small cells. Spores olive-brown, globose, smooth, 3-4 μm in diameter. Capillitium distinctive in being formed of brownish branched threads which lack all trace of tiny hyaline pores, all other members of the genus have poroid capillitial threads.


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