Common Names: Lycoperdon pulcherrimum
A saprobic puffball fungus found alone or in small groups in humus or on rotten wood during summer and fall under hardwoods. The fruiting body is roughly pear-shaped with a narrow, stem-like base. 2 to 4 cm broad and 2 to 5 cm tall. The outer layer has a dense coating of long (3 to 6 mm), slender white spines. Numerous bundles are formed by the joining of spines at the tips. As the mushroom matures, the spines are shed, leaving a smooth, shiny, brown to dark purple-brown surface. A small opening forms at the top for the discharge of spores. The stem makes up about one half of the fruiting body, and is chambered and white inside when young, becoming brown to purple-brown in age. The flesh is white and firm when young, becoming yellow and then dark purple-brown and powdery as the mushroom matures. This mushroom could be confused with Lycoperdon echinatum (also known as Lycoperdon americanum) but while L. echinatum has white spines when young, the spines turn dark brown as the mushroom matures.