Lycoperdon excipuliforme: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Lycoperdon excipuliforme Mushroom
Lycoperdon excipuliforme is a pale buff or brown, pestle-shaped mushroom that fruits most often singly or in very small groups in woodland habitats. The upper, globe-like section of this puffball is white at first and turns ochre as it ages, is initially covered in soft, pointed warts; these fall off to leave a smooth, matt surface. In maturity it may attain dimensions of 12 cm broad by 20 cm) tall. The underside of the puffball is attached to the ground by a root-like assemblage.
The stipe expands once the head has ruptured and released the spores. It then remains intact throughout the winter and into the following summer. It is parallel or slightly tapering in at the base; spongy; surface soon becoming wrinkled; initially white with pointed warts, but later turning ochre and becoming smooth and leathery.
This fairly large puffball is edible only when the spore-bearing flesh is young and white. The taste and odor are not distinctive. Edible only when young and white throughout. It tastes very similar to the giant puffball, but the flesh is not quite as firm and the outer skin should be removed.
Other names: Pestle Puffball, Pistle-shaped Puffball.
Lycoperdon excipuliforme Identification
This fungus comprises two parts. The upper, globe-like section, which is white at first and turns ochre as it ages, is initially covered in soft, pointed warts; these fall off to leave a smooth, matt surface. Inside this rounded head, the spores develop. The lower stem-like section comprises sterile material and soon develops wrinkled skin.
Parallel or slightly tapering in at the base; spongy; surface soon becoming wrinkled; initially white with pointed warts, but later turning ochre and becoming smooth and leathery.
The stems of these large puffballs expand once the head has ruptured and released the spores, and then they remain intact throughout the winter and into the following summer. An example of an over-wintered stem is shown on the left.
More or less spherical, warted, 3.5 - 5.5µm in diameter.
Initially, the spore mass (gleba) is white, becoming olive and then purple-brown at maturity.
Lycoperdon excipuliforme Look-Alikes
Lycoperdon perlatum (Handkea perlatum)
Much smaller has a shorter stipe and retains a mesh-like pattern when the warts are rubbed off the cap.
Widespread in North America. Lycoperdon molle resembles a short-stemmed specimen.
Lycoperdon excipuliforme Taxonomy & Etymology
In 1772 Italian naturalist Giovanni Antonio Scopoli described this puffball and gave it the binomial scientific name Lycoperdon polymorphum var. excipuliforme. The current name Lycoperdon excipuliforme, established by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon in 1801, retains Scopoli's basionym.
In 1989, German mycologist Hanns Kreisel described the genus Handkea to include species of Calvatia that had distinct microscopic features: Handkea species have a unique type of capillitium (coarse thick-walled hyphae in the gleba), with curvy slits instead of the usual pores. Although accepted by some authors, the genus concept has been rejected by others.
This species has many synonyms including Lycoperdon polymorphum var. excipuliforme Scop., Lycoperdon saccatum Vahl, Lycoperdon elatum Massee, Calvatia saccata (Vahl) Morgan, Calvatia excipuliformis (Scop.) Perdeck, and Handkea excipuliformis (Scop.) Kreisel.
The specific epithet excipuliforme, comes from the Latin words excipulum, which means a vessel, and forma, which means 'in the shape of'.
The genus name Lycoperdon means 'wolf's flatulence'.
Lycoperdon excipuliforme profile
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