What You Should Know
Lycoperdon mammiforme is a rare mushroom found in a deciduous forest on chalk soil. It is found in Europe. The fruit body is spherical to pear-shaped, at first pure white with slightly grainy inner skin and an outer skin which disintegrates in flakes that are soon shed, later ochre, chocolate-brown when old, up to 7 cm (2.8 in) in diameter.
Most puffballs are edible when young, but some experts state that the Flaky Puffball is inedible and possibly poisonous. In any case, because of their scarcity picking these puffballs is not recommended.
Other names: Flaky Puffball.
Lycoperdon mammiforme Mushroom Identification
Pear-shaped, surface background pale pinkish when young, covered in pale woolly patches that fall away to reveal a smooth buff-pink surface as fruitbody matures; spores are released via an apical pore that opens at maturity; 3 to 5cm across, and 3 to 6cm tall; rudimentary infertile stem paler than the fertile upper chamber (peridium); gleba white and firm at first becoming olive-brown and powdery.
Spherical, minutely spiny, 3.5-4.5µm in diameter.
Found on alkaline sites in beech woodlands and the grass on woodland edges.
July to November.
Lycoperdon mammiforme Look-Alikes
Is darker, with a reddish tinge, and is covered in spines.
Is white and covered in pearly warts.
Lycoperdon mammiforme Taxonomy and Etymology
This largish edible fungus was first described in scientific literature by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon in 1801, when it was given the binomial name Lycoperdon mammiforme.
The specific epithet mammiforme simply means 'shaped like a breast' (indicating why one of its formerly popular common names is the Venus Puffball), while the genus name Lycoperdon means 'wolf's flatulence' and begs the question of who got close enough to a wolf to become an expert on the matter. For most of us, surely such an odor cannot be considered a particularly helpful diagnostic feature for identifying the Flaky Puffball, Lycoperdon mammiforme.
Lycoperdon mammiforme Synonyms
Utraria velata (Vittad.) Quél. (1873)
Lycoperdon mammiforme Pers., 1801
Photo 1 - Author: Irene Andersson (irenea) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: Gerhard Koller (Gerhard) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 3 - Author: gillow2e (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
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