What You Should Know
Tulostoma brumale is a common representative of the abdominal fungi of the genus Tulostoma. The fertile part is usually up to 1 cm large, roughly spherical, or slightly flattened in shape with a raised mouth bordered by a rusty brown backyard. The thorn is usually up to 5 cm tall, stiff, whitish to ocher brown, smooth with scattered scales to scaly. It grows on sunny mossy habitats, sands, in xerothermic vegetation, etc.
Other names: Winter Stalkball.
Tulostoma brumale Mushroom Identification
This lollipop-like fungus is easily overlooked among snail shells and other pale debris. The rounded 'puffball' with its slightly granular surface sits on a twig-like stem arising from a brown basal volva. Both the spore sac and the stem are white or grayish, the stem covered with brownish longitudinal fibers. The spore-release hole (peristome) is surrounded by a reddish-brown ring. The ball diameter varies from 0.5 to 1cm, and the total height ranges between 2 and 5cm. The stem is 0.2 to 0.3cm in diameter and 1.5 to 4cm tall, tapering slightly towards the apex; it can be smooth and grey or more often fibrous and mottled gray-brown. Inside the spore sac the gleba is white and firm initially, turning brown and powdery as the spores mature.
Subspherical to globose, 4-5 x 3.5-4µm; covered in fine warts.
The powdery spore-bearing gleba is pale rufous (reddish).
Saprobic, is found in stony and sandy soil among moss or short grass, most commonly in coastal areas.
September to January; often persisting through to March in Southern Europe.
Tulostoma brumale Look-Alikes
Is very rare in Britain and Ireland. Somewhat smaller than the Winter Stalkball it grows in dune slacks and has spores much larger than those of Tulostoma brumale.
Is very rare in Britain and Ireland. This tiny stalkball has a smooth white ball with a protruding apical peristome; it grows on mossy limestone boulders in upland regions and is recorded very infrequently in Scotland.
Tulostoma brumale Taxonomy and Etymology
This species was described scientifically in 1794 by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon, who created its basionym when he gave the Winter Stalkball the scientific binomial name Tulostoma brumale by which mycologists still refer to it today.
The generic name Tulostoma comes from tul- (or tyl-) meaning a swelling, or the knob on the end of a club; and the suffix-toma meaning with wool or hair (just as tomentose means woolly). So fungi in this genus should look like rather woolly or hairy balls on the ends of clubs.
The specific epithet brumale means 'of winter'.
Tulostoma brumale Synonyms
Tulostoma brumale longipes (Czern.) J. E. Wright, 1987
Tulostoma mammosum longipes (Czern.) Sacc. & Traverso, 1911
Tulostoma mammosum majus Petri, 1909
Tulostoma mammosum ore-albido Pat., 1904
Tulostoma pedunculatum longipes Czern., 1845
Tulostoma mammosum P. Micheli ex Fr., 1829
Tulostoma brumale efile Alb. & Schwein., 1805
Tulostoma brumale filatum Pers., 1801
Tulostoma pediculatum Bull., 1787
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Photo 2 - Author: Jymm (Public Domain)
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Photo 4 - Author: Michel Langeveld (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
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