Friday, September 12, 2008
Here is a little puffball mushroom about 1-1/4 inches in diameter. I can not identify the species as I do not have a mushroom guide and could not find one online that appeared similar. The stem is very short. Any help would be appreciated.
Puffballs are Fungi in the Phylum Basidiomycota and produce spores internally. The spores are released through the hole in the top in a puff of brown “dust” when the body is disturbed.
(Update: I studied the excellent puffball page by Michael Kuo at Mushroom Expert, and I am still a bit baffled. Part of the problem is that this puffball is a bit far along in its cycle. Second, you will note that the spines are only on the bottom half of the ball. Most spined species have them on the entire circumference. I would guess that it was genus Lycoperdon if it had a taller stem, and it is possible that the stem was more substantial in its youth. Further, Lycoperdon perlatum is the most common woodland species. Third, cutting a puffball open is important to identifying it as the color and consistency of the flesh are important indicators. And finally, microscopic examination of the spores can be very helpful when differentiating between the various species within a genus. Alas....I will try to use these tools to better effect next season deo volente.)