Pear-shaped Puffball

Lycoperdon pyriforme

Pear-shaped Puffballs found growing on a dead tree stump Oct. 31st at Pandapas
Pear-shaped Puffballs found growing on a dead tree stump at Pandapas Pond area in late October

On a hike to the War Spur trail in late September, and then again at Pandapas Pond in late October, I found these mushrooms growing in abundance, on decaying logs.

Although the common name of this fungus suggests a pear shape, these can also be round, as seen in the photo gallery below. When they are young, pear-shaped mushrooms have bumps on the surface (see photo above), but these disappear at maturity.  Eventually a small hole will form at the top of the mushroom and then spores can escape when the mushroom is disturbed (usually by raindrops).  See the photos below for puffballs in different stages of development –and note how they are all growing on wood!

Like the giant puffball and the gem-studded puffball, these puffballs are edible when they are new (i.e. when they are still pure white inside).  Another common name for them is wolf-fart mushroom, but I won’t attempt to explain the origin of that name.  You can just look at the “smoking mushrooms” photo at the top of this page to get your imagination working!

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