name = Puffball

image_width = 250px
image_caption = Puffball Mushroom
regnum = Fungi
divisio = Basidiomycota
classis =
ordo =
familia =
subdivision_ranks =
subdivision =

A puffball is a member of any of a number of groups of fungus in the division Basidiomycota. The puffballs were previously treated as a taxonomic group called the Gasteromycetes or Gasteromycetidae, but they are now known to be a polyphyletic assemblage. Their distinguishing feature is that they have "gasterothecia" (gasteroid basidiocarps) in which the spores are produced internally; that is, the basidiocarp remains closed, or opens only after the spores have been released from the basidia. The spores of puffballs are "statismospores" rather than ballistospores, meaning they are not actively shot off the basidium. They are called puffballs because a cloud of brown dust-like spores is emitted when the mature fruiting body bursts. Puffballs and similar forms are thought to have evolved repeatedly (that is, in numerous independent events) from hymenomycetes by "gasteromycetation", through secotioid stages. Thus Gasteromycetes or Gasteromycetidae are now considered descriptive terms (more properly "gasteroid" or "gasteromycetes") and not valid cladistic terms.

Puffballs encompass the genera Calvatia, Calbovista, Lycoperdon.Citation
last = Freedman
first = Louise
author-link =
last2 = Mycological Society of San Francisco
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Wild About Mushrooms:Puffballs
date = 1987, 2000
year =
url = http://www.mssf.org/cookbook/puffballs.html
accessdate = 2008-08-03
] The true puffballs, of the Lycoperdales, do not consist of a visible stalk (stem). Avoid the genus Scleroderma which have a young purple gleba. Citation
last = Miller
first = Orson K.
author-link =
last2 =
first2 =
author2-link =
title = Mushrooms of North America
place = New York, NY
publisher = E.P. Dutton Publisher
year = 1977
volume =
edition =
url =
doi = page 298
id =
isbn = 0-525-47482-x
] The stalked puffballs, of the lycoperdales, do have a stalk which supports the gleba. None of the stalked puffballs are edible as they are tough and woody mushrooms. The Hymenogastrales are the "false puffballs". A gleba which is powdery on maturity is a feature of true puffballs, stalked puffballs and earthstars. False puffballs are hard like rock or brittle. No false puffballs are edibles as they are tough and bitter.

Puffballs were traditionally used in Tibet for making ink by burning them vigorously, grinding them, then putting them in water and adding glue liquid and "a "nye shing ma" decoction", which, when pressed for a long time, made a very black dark substance which was used as an ink. [Cuppers, Christoph (1989). "On the Manufacture of Ink." "Ancient Nepal - Journal of the Department of Archaeology", Number 113, August-September 1989, p. 5.]

Edibility and identification

should be cut in half lengthwise. Young puffballs in the edible stage have undifferentiated white flesh within; the gills of immature Amanita mushrooms can be seen if they are closely examined.

The giant puffball, "Calvatia gigantea" (earlier classified as "Lycoperdon giganteum"), reaches a foot (30 cm) or more in diameter, and is difficult to mistake for any other fungus. It has been estimated that a large specimen of this fungus when mature will produce around 7 × 10¹² spores. If collected before spores have formed, while the flesh is still white, it may be cooked as slices fried in butter, with a strong earthy, mushroom flavor. It can often be used in recipes that would ordinarily call for eggplant. It does not store well in a freezer - the entire freezer rapidly acquires a strong mushroom smell.

To identify mushrooms may be stalked, without stalk, or false.

**Stalked puffballs
***Battarrea phalloides
***Calostoma cinnabarina (Stalked Puffball-in-Aspic)cite web
last = Kuo
first = M.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =
work = Puffballs (MushroomExpert.Com)
publisher =
date = 2006, February
url = http://www.mushroomexpert.com/puffballs.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-08-03
***Pisolithus tinctorius
***Tulostoma Simulans

**True puffballs
***Bovista pila
***Calvatia cyathiformis
***Calvatia gigantea
***Calvatia booniana
***Calvatia fumosa
***Calvatia lepidophora
***Calvatia sculpta
***Calvatia subcretacea
***Calbovista subsculpta
***Lycoperdon candidum
***Lycoperdon echinatum
***Lycoperdon fusillum
***Lycoperdon umbrinum
***Scleroderma auratium
***Scleroderma geaster
**The false puffballs
***Endoptychum agaricoides
***Nivatogastrium nubigenum
***Podaxis pistillaris
***Rhizopogon rubescens
***Truncocolumella citrina


Major orders:
* Lycoperdales, Tulostomatales, Nidulariales (related to Agaricales)
**Basidiomycetes : Agaricales : Lycoperdaceae : Calvatia
***Calvatia booniana -
***Calvatia bovista (Handkea utriformis ) -
***Calvatia craniiformis -
***Calvatia cyathiformis -
***Calvatia fumosa (Handkea fumosa ) -
***Calvatia gigantea -
***Calvatia lepidophora -
***Calvatia rubroflava -
***Calvatia sculpta -cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = he Fungi of California
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.mykoweb.com/CAF/
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-08-03
***Calvatia subcretacea (Handkea subcretacea) -ref name="California"/>
**Basidiomycetes : Agaricales : Lycoperdaceae : Lycoperdon
***Lycoperdon foetidum (Lycoperdon nigrescens)
***Lycoperdon perlatum -
***Lycoperdon pulcherrimum -
***Lycoperdon pusillum
**Basidiomycetes : Agaricales : Lycoperdaceae : Morganella
***Morganella pyriformis
**Basidiomycetes : Agaricales : Lycoperdaceae : Vascellum
***Vascellum curtisii -
***Vascellum pratense -

* Geastrales and Phallales (related to Cantharellales),
**Basidiomycetes : Phallales : Geastraceae : Geastrum
***Geastrum coronatum -
***Geastrum fornicatum -
***Geastrum saccatum -

* Sclerodermatales (related to Boletales)
**Basidiomycetes : Boletales : Sclerodermataceae : Scleroderma
***Scleroderma areolatum -
***Scleroderma bovista -
***Scleroderma cepa -
***Scleroderma citrinum -
***Scleroderma meridionale -
***Scleroderma michiganense -
***Scleroderma polyrhizum -
***Scleroderma septentrionale -

* and various false-truffles (hypogaeic gasteromycetes) related to different hymenomycete orders.

Similarly, the true truffles (Tuberales) are gasteroid Ascomycota. Their ascocarps are called tuberothecia.



* [http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Homobasidiomycetes&contgroup=Hymenomycetes Homobasidiomycetes] at the Tree of Life Web Project

External links

* [http://americanmushrooms.com/puffballs.htm Puffballs] at AmericanMushrooms.com
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VD-Kt1fS5s "Puffballs"] , 9-second video of a puffball releasing spores on YouTube.
* [http://www.und.edu/org/ndwild/puff.html Puffballs or footballs]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Puffball — Puff ball , n. (Bot.) A kind of ball shaped fungus ({Lycoperdon giganteum}, and other species of the same genus) full of dustlike spores when ripe; called also {bullfist}, {bullfice}, {puckfist}, {puff}, and {puffin}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • puffball — ► NOUN ▪ a fungus that produces a large round fruiting body which ruptures when ripe to release a cloud of spores …   English terms dictionary

  • puffball — [puf′bôl΄] n. any of various round basidiomycetous fungi (esp. order Lycoperdales) that burst at the touch, when mature, and discharge a brown powder …   English World dictionary

  • puffball — noun 1. any of various fungi of the family Lycoperdaceae whose round fruiting body discharges a cloud of spores when mature • Syn: ↑true puffball • Hypernyms: ↑fungus • Hyponyms: ↑giant puffball, ↑Calvatia gigantea …   Useful english dictionary

  • puffball — UK [ˈpʌfˌbɔːl] / US [ˈpʌfˌbɔl] noun [countable] Word forms puffball : singular puffball plural puffballs a round brown fungus that lets out seeds through an opening in its top …   English dictionary

  • puffball — [[t]pʌ̱fbɔːl[/t]] puffballs also puff ball N COUNT A puffball is a round fungus which bursts when it is ripe and sends a cloud of seeds into the air …   English dictionary

  • puffball — noun Date: 1649 any of various globose and often edible fungi (especially family Lycoperdaceae) that discharge mature spores in a smokelike cloud when pressed or struck …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • puffball — /puf bawl /, n. any of various basidiomycetous fungi, esp. of the genus Lycoperdon and allied genera, characterized by a ball like fruit body that emits a cloud of spores when broken. [1640 50; PUFF + BALL1] * * * Any of various fungi (see… …   Universalium

  • puffball — noun Any of various fungi that produce a cloud of brown dust like spores from their mature fruiting bodies …   Wiktionary

  • puffball — SYN: Lycoperdon. * * * puff·ball pəf .bȯl n any of various globose and often edible fungi (esp. family Lycoperdaceae) that discharge ripe spores in a smokelike cloud when pressed or struck …   Medical dictionary

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