What You Should Know
Calvatia pachyderma produces large to very large puffball-type fruitbodies. The large size, and yellow-olive to brownish-olive spore mass help to distinguish this genus from other puffballs. The spore mass tends to become entirely powdery in age, not remaining cottony as in some of the smaller puffball genera. The principal field mark of this Calvatia, as the species name suggests, is a relatively thick peridium.
Edible and good. Should be eaten only when young and firm with the gleba still pure white.
Other names: Elephant-skin Puffball.
Calvatia pachyderma Mushroom Identification
Fruiting body subglobose, cushion-shaped, to turbinate, 6.0-11.0 cm tall, 7.0-13.0 cm broad, abruptly tapered towards the base, sometimes with a root-like attachment to the substrate; exoperidium persistent, thin, less than 1.0 mm thick, glabrous, pallid to pale grayish-tan, basal area dull purple-brown in age; endoperidium 2.0-3.0 mm thick, punky, brittle; gleba cream-colored, then ochre, eventually dull yellowish-brown, occasionally tinged olive, powdery; subgleba and sterile base absent; fruiting body opening by splits or polygonal fractures; odor of mushrooms; taste untried.
4.0-6.0 x 3.5-5.0 µm, subglobose to ovoid, mostly the latter, smooth, with a central oil droplet and a short, < 1.0 µm pedicel; spores dull yellowish-brown to tobacco-brown in mass; capillitium with a round to oval pits.
Solitary or in small groups in native grasslands or dry, open areas; fruiting shortly after the fall rains, again in the spring; known from coastal locations but probably occurs elsewhere at low elevations; occasional.
Mycenastrum corium and Bovista pila are similar, though usually smaller. They mimic Calvatia pachyderma in lacking a sterile base, opening by cracks, and fruiting in the grass.
Calvatia pachyderma Synonyms
Lycoperdon pachydermum Peck
Langermannia pachyderma (Peck) Kreisel
Gastropila fragilis (Lév.) Homrich & J.E. Wright
Photo 1 - Author: alicecaste (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International)
Photo 2 - Author: anguyen47 (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: mattmd767 (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International)
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