Battarrea phalloides: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Battarrea phalloides Mushroom
Battarrea phalloides is an inedible species of mushroom in the family Agaricaceae, and the type species of the genus Battarrea.
This funky mushroom looks like a puffball stuck on along. It has a woody, slender, and shaggy or scaly stem that is typically up to 40 centimeters (15.7 in) in length. Although its general appearance resembles an agaric with stem and gills, atop the stem is a spore sac, consisting of a peridium and a powdery internal gleba. In maturity, the spore sac ruptures to release the spores.
This rare Red List mushroom is found in dry, sandy locations throughout the world, and has been collected from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America (primarily in western regions), and South America.
Other names: Desert Drumstick, Flatcap Stalked Puffball, Scaly-Stalked Puffball, Sandy Stiltball.
Battarrea phalloides Identification
Presumably saprobic; growing alone or scattered in dry, sandy soil (coastal back dunes, deserts, sagebrush areas); spring and early summer (but persisting for many months), or in fall; western North America and Alaska.
At first appearings like an underground egg or lump; emerging and developing a long stem with an apical spore case.
2-12 cm across; at maturity convex, with a flattened bottom; the "skin" bald and whitish or grayish, sloughing away on the underside to expose the spore mass.
When mature rusty brown and powdery; abundant.
7-50 cm long and up to 2 cm thick; very tough; hollow; whitish to brownish or brown; ridged or hairy, becoming lacerated-scaly; base enclosed in a whitish, underground volva that often disappears.
Spores 5-7 x 4.5-6 µ; subglobose to broadly elliptical; finely spiny, with spines mostly less than 0.5 µ high. Pseudocapillitial threads hyaline to ochraceous in KOH; 4-6 µ wide. Elators 50-75+ µ long; 3.5-7 µ wide; ochraceous in KOH; cylindrical to fusiform; with thickened spirals; abundant.
Battarrea phalloides Look-Alikes
Are much smaller and do not produce rusty-brown spore dust.
Is known in the United States from the Mojave desert, and differs from B. phalloides in that the spore sac emerges by ripping through the top of the exoperidium, rather than by circumscissile rupture. The endoperidium of B. diguettii is also smaller, and the spores emerge through several pores on the upper surface of the spore sac.
Can grow taller, up to 70 centimeters (27.6 in).
Commonly known as the "desert shaggy mane", occurs in dry locales similar to B. phalloides, but can be distinguished by its shaggy, elongated cap.
Battarrea phalloides Taxonomy & Etymology
Described first in 1785 by Scottish botanist James J Dickson (1738 - 1822), who gave it the name Lycoperdon phalloides, the Sandy Stiltball was transferred to the genus Battarrea by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon in 1801.
Synonyms of Battarrea phalloides include Phallus campanulatus Woodward, and Lycoperdon phalloides Dicks.
The Battarea genus was named after Italian mycologist A C J Battarra, while the specific epithet phalloides means phallus-like, while the generic name Battarrea honours the Italian mycologist Giovanni Antonio Battara (1714 - 1789).
"Battarraea" is a spelling sometimes applied. Battarrea laciniata is a likely synonym.
Battarrea stevenii, once separated based on its gelatinous volva, is a synonym - or, better said, the species names Battarrea stevenii and Battarrea phalloides both represent incoherent entities, phylogenetically (see Martín & Johannesson, 2000), and "Battarrea phalloides" is the older incoherent name.
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