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Pestle Puffball

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Summer Summer

A relatively big size, pestle shaped puffball on a tall, sterile, stem-like structure.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Pestle Puffball
Scientific Name Lycoperdon excipuliforme
Synonyms Calvatia excipuliformis, Handkea excipuliformis
Season Start Aug
Season End Nov
Average Mushroom height (CM) 6-20
Average Cap width (CM)
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Fruiting Body

6–20 cm tall, 5–10 cm wide, pear or pestle shaped with a distinct head and a sterile, stem-like structure which holds up the head. The outer layer or skin (ectoperidium) covered with spiny granules. Whitish when young, creamy to grey brown with age. The inner layer or inner wall (endoperidium) is ochraceous, papery and thin. When the spores have matured, the endoperidium opens up releasing its spores and then disappearing with age. The stem-like sterile structure persistently remains after the spores have been released. 

Stem

Does not have a true stem but a sterile stem like structure which can persist throughout the year after the fertile head has disappeared.

Flesh

It is called gleba in the head. The gleba is white when young, then green to olive-brown as the spores develop. 

Habitat

On soil, preferably in woodlands, both under deciduous trees and conifers, occasionally on grasslands and in hedgerows. Grows solitary, in small groups.

Possible Confusion

When young, it might be confused with smaller, white puffballs from genus Lycoperdon.

Common Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum), pictured, is generally much smaller, its colour is paler, whitish to cream, also its head is covered with easily falling spines.

Mosaic Puffball (Lycoperdon utriforme) is a medium to large puffball, but it prefers unimproved grasslands, and its head is covered with pyramid-like warts.

Taste / Smell

Taste and smell not distinctive. It is only edible as long as the gleba is white.

Frequency

Relatively common and widespread in the UK.

Spores

Spore print is olive-brown. Spores are spherical, warty, brownish.

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