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Calvatia cyathiformis

Purple spored puffball

ParentsUnknownGenus is not in the current taxonomy
GenusCalvatiaFrom the Latin calvus, “bald;” and calvaria, ”dome of the skull”
SpeciescyathiformisShaped like a flask

About plant names...

These puffballs are common across much of central and eastern North America.

Identification: Fruiting bodies are large, 3-7" (8-17 cm) high and 3-8" (8-20 cm) around, roughly spherical or pear-shaped, with a narrowed base. (The largest puffball known was 4 feet across, weighing close to 50 pounds!) Sliced in half, you can see the difference between the rounded top, which will become a huge mass of spores, and the base. The spore-bearing top, called the gleba, starts out brownish, later becoming purple. The top can be smooth or scaly. If you have a microscope handy, the spores are purple, 3-6 µm in size, covered with spines 0.5-1 µm long. Once spores have formed, the interior of the gleba some­what resembles chocolate cake in color and consistency.

Edibility: Harvested before they darken, when they are white all the way through when cut, these puffballs are edible. Make sure they are at least the size of an orange, to avoid confusing them with something poisonous. Several sources say they lack flavor of their own, but absorb other flavors well.

Online References:

Calvatia cyathiformis on Michael Kuo's MushroomExpert.com

Calvatia cyathiformis on Tom Volk's Fungi site, at the Department of Biology at the University of Wisconsin

Calvatia cyathiformis on Mushroom-Collecting.com, a New England and Eastern Canada Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms site

Calvatia cyathiformis on Wikipedia

Calvatia cyathiformis on Medicinal Mushrooms: Investigating Bioactive Compounds from Kingdom Fungi

Calvatia cyathiformis (purple spored puffball)

8/17/2021 · Houghton Graves Park, Harpswell, Maine · By Priscilla Seimer

Lycoperdon cyathiforme Bosc 1811

 

Calvatia cyathiformis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 17 Aug 2021.

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Calvatia cyathiformis (purple spored puffball)

8/17/2021 · Houghton Graves Park, Harpswell, Maine · By Priscilla Seimer

Calvatia cyathiformis (purple spored puffball)

8/17/2021 · Houghton Graves Park, Harpswell, Maine · By Priscilla Seimer

Calvatia cyathiformis (purple spored puffball)

8/14/2021 · Houghton Graves Park, Harpswell, Maine · By Priscilla Seimer