13 genera
50 species
3 subspecies and varieties
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Astraeus hygrometricusbarometer earthstar, hygroscopic earthstar, water-measure earthstar
Description: Produces fruitbodies that are spherical at first. At maturity the thick outer skin splits and when damp peels back to form 6-12 rays or arms, revealing the puffball-like spore sack at the center. The rays are strongly hygroscopic and in dry weather curl back over the spore sack.
Habitat: woodlands
Substrate: on the ground
Astraeus pteridisbracken earthstar, giant hygroscopic earthstar
Habitat: roads, railroad tracks, in waste places, old fields, etc.
Battarrea phalloidesdesert drumstick, flatcap stalked puffball, scaly-stalked puffball, sandy stiltball
Description: The Sandy Stiltball emerges from a whitish, buried “egg” that may remain at the stem base or disintegrate. The cap or head is covered by a white, membranous skin at first, but this later splits apart to reveal a rusty brown spore mass. The stem is hard, dry, shaggy-scaly, and pale brown.
Habitat: Dry woodland, scrub, and desert
Bovista pilatumbling puffball
Description: Spore case globose to subglobose, 2– 7 cm across; at first with white, fuzzy surface, wearing off to expose inner skin that is papery thin, metallic bronzy purplish, smooth; an irregular apical pore or simple ragged tear eventually forms near the top, releasing the spore mass; sterile base absent; base attached to soil by a single cordlike extension. Spore mass/gleba at first white, then becoming deep purplish, powdery; odor and taste mild.
Habitat: open woods and shrublands
Substrate: soil and leaf debris
Spores: late summer to fall
Bovista plumbeagrey puffball, lead-colored puffball, tumbling puffball, tumble-ball
Substrate: grass
Spores: fall and winter
Calbovista subsculptasculptured giant puffball, sculptured puffball, warted giant puffball
Description: Calbovista subsculpta has low, somewhat flattened, pyramidal warts; it has a distinct sterile base below the gleba.
Spores: late spring through summer
Calvatia cyathiformispurple-spored puffball, vase puffball
Description: Spore case 5– 19 cm across and 8– 15 cm high, often pear-shaped with a tapered sterile base; outer surface at first whitish tan becoming brown, soon cracking irregularly and flaking off as it ages. Sterile base chambered, prominent, occupying most of the narrow lower part of the fruiting body, often persisting as vase-shaped remnants when the spores have been dispersed. Gleba (interior) at first whitish, becoming yellow grayish, finally colored purple-brown as spores mature.
Habitat: Prairie grasslands, fields, and desert communities
Spores: summer to fall
Calvatia fumosa
Description: It is attached to the soil by a persistent white cord that is connected to a pleated base. The white to grayish surface is smooth to roughened or shallowly cracked. The peridium is thick and persistent, eventually breaking open or chewed through by rodents to release the spores. The soft white gleba becomes yellowish then dark brown and powdery. During development it often has a very strong unpleasant odor which seemingly would deter mycophagists seeking to eat them.
Distribution: Common in montane conifer forests during spring and summer
Habitat: Spruce, fir, and other mountain conifers
Substrate: duff (sometimes buried)
Spores: spring through early fall
Calvatia giganteagiant puffball
Substrate: fields, pastures, open woods, cemeteries, on exposed hillsides, along roads, in drainage ditches, etc.
Calvatia lycoperdoidescotton-spored puffball
Calvatia sculptasculptured puffball, Sierran puffball
Calvatia subcretaceasmall warted mountain puffball
Chlamydopus meyenianusdesert stalked puffball
Geastrum floriformedaisy earthstar, flower earthstar
Geastrum rufescensreddish earthstar, rosy earthstar
Geastrum saccatumbowl earthstar, rounded earthstar, sessile earthstar
Distribution: Earthstars are not particularly abundant in forested areas of the PNW. Many species are more characteristic of drier woodlands and even deserts, so the diversity of earthstars and many other gasteromycetes is much higher in the southwestern U.S. G. saccatum is widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere and we have seen it, or a dead-ringer for it, in Tasmania, Australia.
Geastrum triplexcollared earthstar, saucered earthstar
Lycoperdon curtisiiCurtis' puffball
Lycoperdon dermoxanthumdwarf puffball, small tumbling puffball
Lycoperdon mollesmooth puffball, soft puffball
Lycoperdon nigrescensdark puffball, dusky puffball
Habitat: Conifer forests and alpine habitats
Lycoperdon perlatumwarted puff-ball, gem puffball, gem-studded puffball, devil's snuffbox
Habitat: L. perlatum can be found in disturbed sites, such as forest roadsides, from late summer through fall whenever there is sufficient moisture.
Lycoperdon pulcherrimumbeautiful puffball
Lycoperdon pyriformepear puffball, pear-shaped puffball, stump puffball
Distribution: Broad.
Pisolithus arhizusdead-man's-foot, dyeball, pea-rock, dye-maker's false puffball, dyemaker's puffball
Scleroderma areolatumleopard earthball, small potato
Scleroderma bovistapotato earthball
Scleroderma cepasmooth earthball
Scleroderma citrinumcommon earthball, pigskin poison puffball, thick-skinned puffball, golden Scleroderma
Vascellum lloydianumwestern lawn puffball, western lawn puffbowl