11 Gasteromycetes (Puffballs & their look-alikes)
True Puffballs: thin-skinned with spores emerging from a hole opening
up in the
center of the puffball; on the ground or on wood; immature forms can be
confused with various species of Amanita, including the Destroying
a cross-section will show the puffball to have an undifferentiated
whereas a cross-section of an unopened
Amanita “egg” will show the outline of a mushroom cap, gills,
summer and fall.
cut in half
An Amanita in the
egg stage looks very similar until you cut it:
|Destroying Angel egg
|egg, cut in half -- on triscuit
-- you can see the Amanita outline
-- a "killer" (fatal) appetizer
Giant Puffballs: no central hole for spores to escape; instead these
flake apart and disintegrate; late summer and fall.
|Giant puffball with Art Bailie
|another giant puffball, the
Earthballs (or False Puffballs):
thick-warty-skinned, usually yellowish brown; cross-section
off-white (immature) to blackish (spore color) interior; on the ground,
under oaks; summer and fall.
Earthstars: puffball-like with an outer skin that splits into distinct
pieces, revealing the puffball-like interior; the whole sometimes
lunar lander; on the ground; summer and fall.
Stalked Puffballs: the one included here has a jelly-like covering
stalk and a bright red puffball head; fall.
|Stalked puffball in aspic
Bird’s Nest Fungi (or Splash Cups): very small, almost cup-fungus like
mushrooms on wood or on the ground, with tiny egg-like spore sacs
deep cup-like “nests”; spores are flung out by water drops or other
disturbance; summer and fall.
|White-egg bird's nest
Stinkhorns: often colorful and either phallic-shaped or with multiple
with spores immersed in a greenish slime that attracts flies who
spores; immature forms are within a membranous egg-like covering,
resembling puffballs; mature phallic forms, when gluten is denuded by
can resemble a morel; summer and fall.
|Stinky squid stinkhorn