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Group of Fungi: Puffball
Latin Name: Lycoperdon pyriforme Schaeff.
Synonym(s): Morganella pyriformis
Common Name: Pear-shaped Puffball
Description: Pear-shaped or sometimes somewhat globose structure, 1–2 in (2.5–5.0 cm) high and 3/4–2 in (2–5 cm) wide; outer surface at first pale yellow-brown but then becoming darker with age, covered with tiny white spines, developing a distinct opening at the top of the fruiting body; spore mass white in young fruiting bodies but becoming greenish-yellow and then olive-brown and powdery as the spores mature; lowermost portion of the fruiting body sterile and thus without spores; spores deep olive-brown in mass.
Biological Role: Decomposer of wood.
Habitat: On decaying wood and bark in broadleaf forests; usually occurring in dense clusters.
Geographical Distribution: Found throughout North America.
Comments: In eastern North America, Lycopderdon pyriforme is the only puffball found in clusters on decaying logs and stumps. When the fruiting bodies are young and what is to become the spore mass is still white and fleshy (which can be determined by cutting a fruiting body in half), this fungus is considered a choice edible. Old fruiting bodies are rather persistent in nature and often can be found at any time of the year.