Pear-shaped Puffball

(Lycoperdon pyriforme)

Conservation Status
Pear-shaped Puffball
Photo by Cynthia Schroeder
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

not listed

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
 
Description
 
 

Pear-shaped Puffball, while not the best known puffball, is the most common one in northeast and midwest North America. It is common in Minnesota. Unlike most puffballs, it grows on and obtains its nutrients from rotting wood (saprobic). It is usually found in dense clusters, sometimes scattered, on rotting logs or stumps. The clusters have been described as sometimes “as large as a loaf of bread.”

The fruiting body is pear-shaped to nearly round, 1 to 2 in tall, and to 2 in diameter. When they first appear they are white and smooth, sometimes with a few scattered white spines at the top. Later they become whitish to pale brown and covered with tiny white spines. As it continues to develop it becomes yellowish to brown, the spines disappear, the surface develops fine cracks forming small patches or granules, and it is rough to the touch. The patches or granules eventually fall off exposing a smooth surface. When mature a pore or tear develops at the top (apex) through which spores are released by raindrops or wind. Eventually they turn brown. The tough outer skin persists into winter and sometimes into the following spring.

The flesh is white and fleshy at first, becoming yellowish and granular as it ages, and brownish dust (spores) when mature. It is edible when young and firm inside but relatively tasteless, becoming bitter with age.

Conspicuous white mycelial threads (rhizomorphs) are usually radiating from the base, sometimes in the surrounding substrate.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat and Hosts
 
 

Rotting wood

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Summer to late fall

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 7, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.

 
  9/12/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common and widespread

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subphylum Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushroom-forming fungi)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Agaricales (common gilled mushrooms and allies)  
  Suborder Suborder Agaricineae  
  Family Agaricaceae (field mushrooms and allies)  
  Genus Lycoperdon  
       
 

The genus Lycoperdon was formerly placed in the family Lycoperdaceae. Recent phylogenetic analysis showed that family to be a subgroup within the family Agaricaceae.

Based on research published in 2003, Lycoperdon pyriforme was separated from other Lycoperdon species due to its preferred habitat, mycelial strings, and other factors, and was reclassified as Morganella pyriformis. In 2008, a more inclusive study placed it back in the genus Lycoperdon.

The genus name Lycoperdon is formed from the Latinized form of the Greek words lykos, meaning “wolf”, and perdesthai, meaning “to break wind”—wolf fart.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
  Morganella pyriformis  
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Pear-shaped Puffball

Stump Puffball

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Mycelium

The vegetative part of a fungus; consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae, through which a fungus absorbs nutrients from its environment; and excluding the fruiting, reproductive structure.

 

Saprobic

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

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Martin Schrattenholzer

 
 

Pear-shaped Puffball, Lycoperdon pyriforme, At Ahsub Lake, Boundary Waters Canoe Area

  Pear-shaped Puffball  
 

Luciearl

 
    Pear-shaped Puffball   Pear-shaped Puffball  
           
    Pear-shaped Puffball   Pear-shaped Puffball  
 

Jill Jacobson

 
 

a group of beautiful puff balls

 
    Common Puffball   Common Puffball  
           
    Common Puffball      
 

Kirk Nelson

 
    Pear-shaped Puffball   Pear-shaped Puffball  
 

Cynthia Schroeder

 
    Pear-shaped Puffball   Pear-shaped Puffball  
           
    Pear-shaped Puffball      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

Habitat

 
    Pear-shaped Puffball   Pear-shaped Puffball  
           
    Pear-shaped Puffball      
           
 

Fresh

 
    Pear-shaped Puffball   Pear-shaped Puffball  
           
    Pear-shaped Puffball      
           
 

Mature

 
    Pear-shaped Puffball   Pear-shaped Puffball  
           
    Pear-shaped Puffball      
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Lycoperdon pyriforme - fungi kingdom
Nineli Lishina
   
 
About

Published on Jan 24, 2015

Lycoperdon pyriforme - fungi kingdom

 
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  Puffball Mushroom (Lycoperdon pyriforme) on Log
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 20, 2010

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (19 September 2010). Go here to learn more about this species: http://www.rogersmushrooms.com/gallery/DisplayBlock~bid~6358.asp

   
  Pear shaped Puffball and more mushrooms
RedFree100
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 26, 2015

Pear shaped Puffball and more mushrooms

   
  Wolf-fart puffballs
JeffersonLandTrust
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 16, 2014

Autumn in Jefferson County, Washington means mass fruitings of all kinds of mushrooms. From Port Townsend, Washington, here's a big bunch of pear-shaped puffballs, AKA Lycoperdon pyriforme...AKA wolf-fart puffball, because "Lycoperdon" literally means "wolf farts"!!!

   
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this fungus.

 
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Be sure to include a location.
 
  Apricity Apricity
Fall 2021

Location: Martin County, Fairmont, MN

 
  Martin Schrattenholzer
9/14/2020

Location: Ahsub Lake, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Pear-shaped Puffball

 
  Luciearl
4/3/2020

Location: Cass County

Pear-shaped Puffball

 
  Luciearl
10/12/2019

Location: Cass County

Pear-shaped Puffball

 
  Luciearl
10/3/2019

Location: Cass County

Pear-shaped Puffball

 
  Jill Jacobson
8/24/2019

Location: Detroit Lakes, MN

a group of beautiful puff balls

Pear-shaped Puffball

 
  Kirk Nelson
9/30/2018

Location: Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Pear-shaped Puffball

 
  Cynthia Schroeder
9/5/2018

Location: North Branch, MN

Pear-shaped Puffball

 
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

Binoculars


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