Major Groups > Puffballs > Lycoperdon perlatum


Lycoperdon perlatum

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Lycoperdaceae > Lycoperdon . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

A very bad song by Madonna is improved immeasurably if you walk through the woods singing:

    "Lycoperdon, puffed for the very first time . . ."

Probably the most common woodland puffball in North America, Lycoperdon perlatum is widely distributed and easily recognized, despite the fact that it is very variable in appearance. It grows on the ground, which helps separate it from Morganella pyriformis, which grows on wood. It has a fairly substantial stem-like portion, which makes the shape of the mushroom rather like an inverted pear. And, when young and fresh, it is covered with tiny spines. The spines often rub off by maturity, but they usually leave little scars where they were attached.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone, scattered, gregariously, or in clusters; in woods under hardwoods or conifers, but also common along roadsides and in urban settings; rarely on very decayed wood; summer and fall in temperate regions, almost year-round in California and along the Gulf Coast; very widely distributed and common.

Fruiting Body: Shaped like an inverted pear, with a fairly prominent stem-like area and a roundish to flattened top; 2.5-7 cm wide; 3-7.5 cm high; dry; covered with whitish spines when young and fresh, but the spines often falling away by maturity and leaving scars on the surface; by maturity developing a central perforation through which spores are liberated by rain drops and wind currents; white, becoming discolored and eventually sometimes brownish; with a white, fleshy interior at first; later with yellowish to olive granular flesh and eventually filled with brownish spore dust.

Microscopic Features: Spores 3.5-4.5 µ; round; minutely spiny. Capillitial threads olive in KOH; 3-7 µ wide; thick-walled; flexuous.

REFERENCES: Persoon, 1796. (Fries, 1829; Saccardo, 1888; Coker & Couch, 1928; Smith, 1951; Smith, 1975; Ramsey, 1978 / 2003; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Arora, 1986; States, 1990; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Metzler & Metzler, 1992; Horn, Kay & Abel, 1993; Evenson, 1997; Barron, 1999; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 10090306, 09030504, 07160801.

Lycoperdon gemmatum is a synonym.

Further Online Information:

Lycoperdon perlatum at MykoWeb
Lycoperdon perlatum at Roger's Mushrooms
Lycoperdon perlatum in Smith, 1951


Lycoperdon perlatum

Lycoperdon perlatum

Lycoperdon perlatum

Lycoperdon perlatum

Lycoperdon perlatum

© MushroomExpert.Com

Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2004, February). Lycoperdon perlatum. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: