|California Fungi—Bovista plumbea
(Photo: © Fred Stevens)
Synops. Meth. Fung. 137. 1801.
Fruiting body 1.5-3.5 cm broad, globose to slightly compressed, attached to the substrate by a tuft of mycelium; exoperidium white, glabrous, becoming buff to pale-tan and minutely tomentose, sometimes areolate; exoperidium flaking away, or peeling off in sheets, the latter typical of maturation in hot, dry conditions; endoperidium membranous, lead-grey, with or without adhering fragments of exoperidium; spores released via a small apical pore; gleba white, turning dingy yellowish, olive-brown, finally dark-brown, firm-textured; subgleba and sterile base absent.
Spores 5.0-6.5 x 4.0-5.5 µm, ovoid, thick-walled, nearly smooth, with a central oil droplet, and a 7.5-11.5 µm pedicel; capillitium of individual elements, not interwoven, main branches thick-walled, flexuous, rapidly tapering, forking more or less dichotomously, ochre-colored in KOH; pits absent.
Scattered to clustered in disturbed areas, expecially in sparse grass; fruiting throughout the mushroom season; widely distributed.
Edible when young and the gleba white, but too small to be considered for the table.
is a small, globose puffball, white when young, greyish in age, attached to the substrate by a tuft of mycelium. It is easily confused with immature
, but the latter is differently colored in age, the endoperidium light-brown to ochre-brown, and is attached to the substrate by a mycelial cord. A third Bovista,
in color at maturity, but is larger, has a basal mycelial cord, and releases spores via cracks or tears rather than a apical pore. Of the three,
is the most widely distributed and the most common.
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(1990). Fungi without Gills (Hymenomycetes and Gasteromycetes). Chapman and Hall: London, England. 329 p.
(2014). The Lycoperdaceae of California. Masters thesis. San Francisco State University: San Francisco, CA. 336 p.
(2018). Puffballs of Northern and Central Europe. Sveriges Mykologiska Förening: Gothenburg, Sweden. 359 p.
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Other Descriptions and Photos
(D & CP)
Arora (1986): p. 697 (D & P)
Arora (1991): p. 216 (D & CP)
Jordan: p. 354 (D & CP)
: p. 140 (D), p. 141 (CP & I)
(D=Description; I=Illustration; P=Photo; CP=Color Photo)
The Fungi of California
Copyright © 1997-2020 Michael Wood & Fred Stevens