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 (which is also smaller, found in urban settings, and remains white throughout development) and Lycoperdon pulcherrimum (which also has much longer spines).


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 about 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 to olive and then into olive brown spore dust, with whitish to brownish flesh in a sterile base that ranges from minimal to fairly well-developed.

Microscopic Features: Spores 3.5–4.5 µm; globose; very minutely ornamented (appearing slightly roughened with light microscopy) or virtually smooth; olive yellow in KOH. Capillitial threads olive in KOH; 2–6 µm wide; pitted; walls 0.5–1 µm thick; occasionally branched.

REFERENCES: Vittadini, 1842. (Saccardo, 1888; Coker & Couch, 1928; Smith, 1951; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Metzler & Metzler, 1992; Horn, Kay & Abel, 1993; Barron, 1999; Krüger et al, 2001; Bates, 2004; Calonge et al., 2004; Larsson & Jeppson, 2008; Cortez et al., 2013; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Bates et al., 2009; Kuo & Methven, 2014; Yuri, 2016; Baroni, 2017; Elliott & Stephenson, 2018; Jeppson, 2018; Sturgeon, 2018.) Herb. Kuo 07200803, 07301002, 10011103, 09181402.

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Lycoperdon marginatum

Lycoperdon marginatum

Lycoperdon marginatum

Lycoperdon marginatum

Lycoperdon marginatum
Spores and capillitial thread

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Kuo, M. (2019, February). Lycoperdon marginatum. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: