Long-spined Puffball

(Lycoperdon pulcherrimum)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

Long-spined Puffball

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common in southern United States. Uncommon in Minnesota.

Season

Fall

Habitat/Hosts

On the ground under hardwoods or on very rotten wood.

Photo by Ben Heath

Identification

This is a beautiful, small to medium-sized puffball. It is found in the fall, alone or in small groups, on ground under hardwoods or on very rotten wood. It is common in the southern United States, uncommon in Minnesota. It obtains its nutrients from decaying organic matter (saprobic).

The fruiting body is more or less pear-shaped, ¾ to 19 16 in diameter, and ¾ to 2 in height. It has a globe-shaped top and a sterile, stalk-like base that is usually well developed but sometimes inconspicuous.

The sterile base is tapered and short, no more than half the height of the fruiting body. It is chambered and often wrinkled, white when young, turning brown to purplish-brown with age.

The skin (peridium) has two distinct layers. The outer layer is white and densely covered with spines when young, dark brown to dark purplish-brown, shiny, and smooth at maturity. The spines are slender, strong, white, to ¼ long. They join at the tips in groups of 2 to 6 or more creating numerous pyramid-shaped clusters (fascicles). They remain white until they are shed or wear away. When shed they do not leave marks or a network of lines on the peridium. When mature, a pore-like mouth develops at the top (apex) of the peridium through which spores are released by wind and rain.

The flesh (spore mass) is white and firm when young, becoming yellow and granular as it ages, and then dark purplish-brown and powdery when mature. It is edible when it is young and the flesh is firm and white.

 
Similar
Species

Curtis’s Puffball (Vascellum curtisii) spines and outer layer remain white at maturity. It usually occurs in clusters.

Gem-Studded Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum) is much more common. The stem is substantial and the top is flattened. It is covered with short white spines interspersed with white granules. The spines wear off by maturity leaving scars on the peridium. The peridium is pale brown when mature.

Spiny Puffball (Lycoperdon echinatum) spines and outer layer soon turn brown, changing color together.


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 4, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.


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Taxonomy

Division:

Basidiomycota (club fungi)

 

Subdivision:

Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)

 

Class:

Agaricomycetes (mushroom-forming fungi)

 

Subclass:

Agaricomycetidae

 

Order:

Agaricales (gill mushrooms)

 

Family:

Agaricaceae

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

Long-spined Puffball


 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

fascicle

A small bundle or cluster, often sheathed at the base, as with pine needles.

 

peridium

The protective wall consisting of usually two, sometimes more layers, that encloses the spore mass of puffballs, earthstars, stinkhorns, false truffles and other gasteroid fungi.

 

saprobic

Obtaining nutrients from non-living organic matter, such as decaying plant or animal matter.

       

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Ben Heath


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Published on Jan 24, 2015

Lycoperdon pulcherrimum - fungi kingdom

 
     

 

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Ben Heath
10/6/2016

Location: North Minneapolis, MN

Long-spined Puffball


     
     
 

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