Purple-spored Puffball

(Calvatia cyathiformis)

Conservation Status
Purple-spored Puffball
Photo by James Folden
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

not listed

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Purple-spored Puffball is a large, edible puffball. It grows on the ground (terrestrial) and obtains its nutrients from decaying organic matter (saprobic). It may appear individually, in groups, or as fairy rings. Fairy rings of this species may persist for hundreds of years.

The fruiting body is 2 to 8 in diameter, nearly round, and slightly flattened at first, with the shape of a round loaf of bread. As it ages it develops a broad, often flattened top and a large stem-like base, giving it the shape of an inverted pear or a top. When it matures in the fall it ruptures, the spores are dispersed, and only the stalk remains.

The skin (peridium) is thin and has two layers. The outer skin (exoperidium) is white, tan, or pinkish tan when young. It is smooth, not spotted or warty. As it ages it cracks, at least on top, into flat scales or patches, revealing the white inner skin (endoperidium) below. When mature it turns dull purple or purplish-brown and flakes off revealing the now dark brown or purplish-brown endoperidium. In the fall the endoperidium ruptures irregularly, or through radial tears, or just generally disintegrates.

The base is sterile. The flesh of the base is chambered and white or yellowish when immature. In the fall it turns purple. It persists into the winter as a purple, leathery, cup shaped stump after the peridium has disintegrated and the spores are dispersed.

The spores of this mushroom are produced inside the fruiting body, not on the outer surface. The flesh above the sterile stalk is the spore mass. When immature it is white and solid with a cheesy texture. At this stage it is edible. As it ages it becomes mushy and darkens, turning first yellowish then brownish. In the fall it becomes powdery and purple.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

The purple color of the mature spore mass distinguishes Purple-spored Puffball from otherwise similar puffballs.

Earthballs (Scleroderma sp.), have a thick, tough skin that ruptures into distinct lobes at maturity, often in a star-like pattern. The mature spore mass remains firm as it darkens, eventually becoming powdery.

 
     
 
Habitat and Hosts
 
 

Pastures, lawns, and other grassy places, and occasionally in open woods.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

July to November

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 24, 26, 29, 30.

 
  4/7/2022      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Widespread and occasional to locally common

 
         
 
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

Calvatia  
       
 

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

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Purple-spored Puffball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Endoperidium

The innermost layer of the outer protective wall of puffballs and other gasteroid fungi.

 

Exoperidium

The outermost layer of the outer protective wall of puffballs and other gasteroid fungi.

 

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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M.H.

 
 

Found 3 purple-spored puffballs!

In my well-groomed flowerbed buried down in with my stones, along the edge of our wooden detached deck in our backyard in Greensburg, PA (zip 15601).

  Purple-spored Puffball  
           
    Purple-spored Puffball   Purple-spored Puffball  
           
    Purple-spored Puffball      
 

James Folden

 
    Purple-spored Puffball   Purple-spored Puffball  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           

 

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Slideshows
 
August Mushrooms:EDIBLE PURPLE SPORED or VASE SHAPED PUFFBALL
foxtrapper1972
   
 
About

Published on Aug 20, 2012

Young specimens with white interior are very good.

 

 

slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
  Puffball Mushroom- Calvatia cyathiformis
sporeprints
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Feb 24, 2009

Large puffball mushrooms on the side of the road, cannot miss those, hehehehe!

   
  Calvatia cyathiformis Hongos de Vetacruz.
alopezr57
 
   
 
About

Published on May 17, 2014

En Xalapa Veracruz mayo 16, 2014

   
  Mushroom Foraging: Calvatia cyathaformis, purple-spored puffball
Demeter
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 1, 2013

These large puffballs grow in grass , emerging in the fall. Please make sure you 100 percent positively identify any wild edible before eating. Visit my blog for more tips and recipes www.demeters-dish.blogspot.com

   
  Purple Puffball Spores Galore
Sean Nash
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Oct 30, 2011

Spores from a puffball fungus that popped up in my backyard this Autumn. I suppose I just committed myself to a few more...

   

 

Camcorder

 
 
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  M.H.
4/6/2022

Location: Greensburg, PA

In my well-groomed flowerbed buried down in with my stones, along the edge of our wooden detached deck in our backyard in Greensburg, PA (zip 15601).

Purple-spored Puffball  
  James Folden
11/3/2014

Thought you might want a pic of this on your website.  The “purple spored puffball”.  We see so few purple fungi!  A week ago, there were 3 specimens on an open field outside of Henderson, MN.  We were able to find this one, which had become detached and blown to the edge of the woods.

Purple-spored Puffball  
           
 
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