Major Groups > Puffballs > Lycoperdon marginatum


Lycoperdon marginatum

[ Basidiomycota > Agaricales > Agaricaceae > Lycoperdon . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This small but attractive puffball can be recognized by the way its spines slough off in patches and chunks, rather than individually, revealing an inner skin that is covered with finely granular material. Several other spiny puffballs can look similar, especially when young, but shed their spines individually. These include Vascellum curtisii, Lycoperdon echinatum, and Lycoperdon pulcherrimum.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; in woods under hardwoods or conifers, but also found along roadsides and in urban settings; summer and fall; widely distributed in North America. The illustrated and described collections are from Illinois.

Fruiting Body: Round to cushion-shaped or slightly flattened; 2-5 cm wide; 2-4 cm high; dry; covered with fairly long (to 1 mm), whitish to brownish spines that protrude individually or, often, aggregate at their tips into pointed scales composed of 2-4 spines; spines sloughing off in patches and chunks to reveal the inner skin; inner skin thin, papery, when first exposed covered with a finely granular coating, then becoming bald, brown to olive brown, developing an apical perforation; interior at first white, then turning into olive spore dust, with whitish to brownish flesh in a fairly well-developed sterile base.

Microscopic Features: Spores 3.5-4.5 µ; globose; very minutely ornamented (appearing slightly roughened with light microscopy) or virtually smooth. Capillitial threads olive in KOH; 2-6 µ wide; pitted; thick-walled.

REFERENCES: Vittadini, 1842. (Saccardo, 1888; Coker & Couch, 1928; Smith, 1951; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Metzler & Metzler, 1992; Barron, 1999; Bates, 2004; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Kuo & Methven, 2014.) Herb. Kuo 07200803, 07301002, 10011103.

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Lycoperdon marginatum

Lycoperdon marginatum

Lycoperdon marginatum

Lycoperdon marginatum

Lycoperdon marginatum
Spores and capillitial thread

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Kuo, M. (2015, May). Lycoperdon marginatum. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: