Common Name:   Pear Puffball

Scientific Name:   Lycoperdon Pyriforme (Pyri from pear and forme from shape)


The pear puffball is one of the most common fungi encountered, typically growing in large clusters on tree stumps.  It has the shape of an inverted pear, the narrow end down.


Potpourri   The name puffball derives from the manner in which the spores are dispersed.  When the puffball matures, a small hole called the ostiole is formed at the top and the spores literally "puff" out (pedo is Latin for "breaking wind").  Raindrops that fall on the leathery outer skin of the puffball provide the motive force to expel the spores.


Native Americans used puffballs as an astringent to stop wounds from bleeding and as a poultice for sores.  Some tribes are reported to have used the dry spores to stop nosebleeds in this manner and called puffball powder "devil's snuff".


Pear puffballs are edible when immature. This can be determined by breaking one open and to see if the inside is pure white and firm.

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