|Types of Mushrooms
Types of Mushrooms
For technical buffs, puffball mushrooms are members of the family Lycoperdaceae, represented by three genus, Calvatia, Calbovista, and Lycoperdon.
Most people know them simply as puffballs, the round mushrooms that pop up from the ground.
They vary from golf ball to beach ball size, and they lack the stem and cap of the stereotypical mushroom.
At the end of their life cycle, puffballs tend to dry out and darken. This stage sometimes ends by someone identifying any one or more specimens as nature's kick ball or squeeze toy. The resulting action releases spores into the wind, starting a new puffball cycle.
All puffball mushrooms are edible, although not all are considered choice.
Experts often warn people away from an over reliance on identifying puffballs based solely on their initial outward appearances. For example, more than a few species of poisonous Amarita mushrooms (see Fly Agaric) resemble puffballs in their young fruiting stage.
Initial puffball identification requires slicing open the mushroom in question.
Puffballs have firm white insides. Avoid any mushroom with gills, they are not puffballs.
Puffballs that resemble hard boiled eggs, like the one in the picture, are decaying, and not edible. Discolored puffballs should also be avoided.
© 2007 Patricia A. Michaels