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Puffballs & the like


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At maturity, the fruitbodies of the fungi in this group generally contain prodigious quantities of powdery spores. The fruitbodies may be spherical to pear-shaped or somewhat columnar in shape and range from less than a centimetre to over 30 centimetres in extent. Spores are mostly some shade of brown, from pale yellow-brown to dark brown, depending on species.


Almost all species produce their fruitbodies on the ground, a few produce them on on wood.


In the following hints you see examples of useful identification features and a few of the more commonly seen genera in which at least some species (not necessarily all) show those features.



Spore mass lilac: Calvatia.

Fruitbody over 30 centimetres in diameter: Calvatia.



If you have a flattish fruitbody, with purplish-black powdery spores inside a thin, brittle crust - check the slime mould Fuligo septica.

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