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The Cryptogams Gallery

Puffball Mushrooms

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Mushrooms and molds are fungus.  A fungus is not a true plant.  It does not photosynthesize light into a food source.  The structures we see and call mushrooms are the reproductive parts of a fungus that lives underground or under bark.




Division Basidiomycota     Family Sclerodermataceae

Likely   Common Earthball Scleroderma citrinum

Brown mushroom is about 1" wide with no stem.  Can grow to 6" wide.  The surface is leathery with dark scaly patches.  It holds itself to the ground with root-like structures.  When cut, outer wall is white and becomes thicker with age.  Center is a mass of spores is black with white veins.  At maturity the spores become powdery and the outer surface ruptures to expel the spores.  Grown in sand on cow path.  This species is sometimes parasitized by Boletus parisiticus a mushroom with a stem.  Not edible.

Photos taken in Taylor County, Texas, November 2004

(Native of Texas)


Thanks to Daniel Z. Seyler for identifying this plant.





Division Basidiomycota     Family Lycoperdaceae

Likely   no common name (White Spiny Puffball) Vascellum curtisii

Largest mushroom is about 3/4" wide.  As they get older the spines wear off.

Photos taken in Taylor County, Texas, June 2007

(Native of Texas)

Similar Species

no common name (White Spiny Puffball) Vascellum pratense

(Native of Texas)





? family

? Common Name **zm 5** Scientific Name

Brown puffball has thin paper like surface, about 1 1/4"  wide with no stem.  When compressed yellow spores poof out of opening on top.

Photos taken in Van Zandt County, Texas, November 2006

(Native ?)



Specimen A - 1 1/2" tall



Specimen B - 2" tall including stem



Specimen C - 2" wide head, stalk was buried, head was broken to expose black insides



Specimen D - 2" tall head


? family

? Common Name **zm 6** Scientific Name

White scaly puffball mushroom is about 1 1/2" tall and 3/4" wide with no stem.

Photos taken in Taylor County, Texas, May 2005

(Native ?)


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