Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tough Puffball

I was walking one of the mowed trials through the field when I spotted a strange lump ahead. The shape and pattern looked like an extremely large tortoise. It was fun for a second to imagine that to be true, but I knew I wasn’t looking at anything animal.

As I approached, it turned from tortoise to brain. I could almost see it pulsing as featured in many B horror movies. All it needed was a body to inhabit.

Actually, I had found another wonderful specimen from the world of fungi. I believe this to be a Tough Puffball, Mycenastrum corium. I’ve seen them in this area before, but this one is about 50 percent larger than those I normally find.

As the spores mature, the seams between plates begin to darken and erode. Eventually the seams will open and allow the top of the fungus to peel back and release the ripe spores.

The pattern reminds me of an aerial view of a subdivision street system and building lots. This isn’t an edible species, but it is a lot of fun. I’ll mow around it until the spores are ready to fly and then I’ll mow it over and set the spores free. A puffball this large should produce a marvelous spore cloud. I’ve been known to stop the mower over the top of a large puffball and really churn up the spores. I hope conditions are right to try something like that with this big guy.


  1. Very interesting:) We think the design could make some pretty fabric ... nature poses so many possibilities:)

  2. Cool! It would be neat if you could get someone to video that mowing event. :)

  3. Hi Mona. I agree that the design would be perfect for a fabric print.

    Hi Lois. I'll see what I can do about getting a video.