The shape of puffballs suggest the out pouring of smoke from a chimney because of the myriad of spores poured out in its ripe stage.
Puffball Mushrooms – Lycoperdon and Calvatia spp
The puffball, when young is of a firm texture, nearly round, grayish or brownish outside, but of a pure white within.
The puffball mushrooms vary greatly in size, the smallest measure half inch up to the largest, about 15inches. The fungus in this group with the largest size is called the giant puff ball.
Location: Europe, North America’s best-known edible wild mushrooms
Color: White to cream
Cap type: Other
Stem type: Lateral, Rudimentary or Absent
Habitat: Grows on the ground
Flesh: Flesh granular or brittle
The vital field character of the Giant Puffball (and several sibling species in genus Calvatia) is its size. To rule out all other mushrooms, it should be at least four inches in diameter, growing on the ground (in the woods or on a lawn), roughly spherical as viewed from above (it may have an enlarged base, as shown in the photos), and the interior should be composed of solid, white, homogenous flesh.
They mostly grow on pine needles on the ground or among leaves and they vary greatly in size.
In moist weather, the points expand and roll back or lie flat on the earth. Then the round puffball in the center is plainly seen.
In dry weather, the star-like divisions are turned in and cover closely the round portion.
Some find the flavor of puffballs bland to mild, while plenty of others (myself included) consider them quite rich. Sliced and simply fried with a little garlic and black pepper, Puffballs’ flavor is wonderful and many chefs usually have a field day with them; Puffball Parmesan is an especially popular recipe.
Habitat and Season
You will usually come across them in the late summer and autumn; in lawns, open woods, pastures and barren areas on soil or decaying wood.
Note: Puffball mushroomss are different than most mushrooms because they lack gills or any other exterior spore-producing structures. They produce their spores internally and then release them in astronomical numbers.
Since this class of mushrooms mature its spores on the inside of the plant there should be no signs of the mushroom developing with a stalk, gills or a cap. 1