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Lycoperdon perlatum   (Common Puffball)
North America, Europe, South America
2.5-6 cm diameter * 2-9 cm tall

Lycoperdon perlatum, also known as Common Puffball, is a yellowish-brown pear or top-shaped fungus, typically with a distinct stem and covered with short spines, each surrounded by smaller, grainlike scales. It grows summer to fall, solitary to densely clustered on soil or humus in forests, along roads or trails or in open areas.

Fruiting body white, becoming ochre-brown, covered with short pyramidial warts which fall off to reveal endoperidium decorated with a reticulate pattern; sub-spherical opening by an apical pore, the fertile head tapering down into a distinct, sterile, basal region. Spore mass at first white and firm, becoming olive-brown and powdery. Spores are pale yellow to olive-brown.

Similar species Lycoperdon nigrescens has longer, darker spines in groups, like those of the much longer-spined Lycoperdon echinatum. The surface of both has a similar pattern when the spines fall off. The mushroom can also be confused with young deadly poisonous Amanita species. A good way to tell puffballs apart from its poisonous look-a-likes, is to cut the mushroom in half from top to bottom. The inside of edible puffball mushrooms should be pure white, like a marshmallow. No signs of gills or patterns.

Lycoperdon perlatum on the First Nature Web site.
Lycoperdon perlatum on the MushroomExpert.Com Web site.

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