Lycoperdon pyriforme

Common Names: Pear-shaped puffball, stump puffball
Category: Fungi
Sub-category: Puffballs

The fruit body of the pear-shaped puffball measures 1.5 to 4.5 cm in width by 2 to 4.5 cm in height. They are often pear-shaped as the name suggests, but they may also be nearly spherical. When very young they are covered in small white spines that typically fall off before maturity. A small developing pore may be visible at the top, while the sterile base of the mushroom is small and appears to be pinched in. Colour ranges from nearly white to yellowish brown with the darker shades developing with age. The central pore ruptures at late maturity to allow the wind and rain to disperse the spores. The base is attached to the wood by means of rhizomorphs (thick, cord-like strands of mycelium). The gleba, or inner spore mass, is white when young, but it becomes greenish-yellow to dark olive-brown with age.

A saprobic fungus, growing on decaying logs of both deciduous and coniferous wood. Autumn.

Edible Notes: It is considered a choice edible when still immature and the inner flesh is white. Slice thin and fry in butter. Do not dehydrate puffball mushrooms, freeze instead if necessary. Do not eat if the inside is not white. Avoid confusion with Scleroderma citrinum which is poisonous.
Warnings: Avoid breathing in the spores when they are matured.