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Puffballs (Lycoperdon perlatum)

Puffballs (Lycoperdon perlatum)
Photo Information
Copyright: Ron Warner (tuslaw) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
Genre: Fungi
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-08-08
Categories: Fungi
Exposure: f/16, 2 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-08-16 19:29
Viewed: 2849
Points: 8
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
While walking through the woods at Quail Hollow State Park I happened to find these tiny Puffballs poking up through the leaf litter.

It was just starting to rain, so I quickly knelt down and took a shot before it became a real downpour. I pulled a large plastic garbage bag out of my camera case and shoved all my gear inside.

Within ten minutes of taking this photo I looked like a drown rat. I didn't think to bring a rain coat, so I had to pay the consequences.

Probably the most common woodland puffball in North America, Lycoperdon perlatum is widely distributed and easily recognized, despite the fact that it is very variable in appearance. It grows on the ground, which helps separate it from Morganella pyriformis, which grows on wood. It has a fairly substantial stem-like portion, which makes the shape of the mushroom rather like an inverted pear. And, when young and fresh, it is covered with tiny spines. The spines often rub off by maturity, but they usually leave little scars where they were attached.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone, scattered, gregariously, or in clusters; in woods under hardwoods or conifers, but also common along roadsides and in urban settings; rarely on very decayed wood; summer and fall in temperate regions, almost year-round in California and along the Gulf Coast; very widely distributed and common.

Fruiting Body: Shaped like an inverted pear, with a fairly prominent stem-like area and a roundish to flattened top; 2.5-7 cm wide; 3-7.5 cm high; dry; covered with whitish spines when young and fresh, but the spines often falling away by maturity and leaving scars on the surface; by maturity developing a central perforation through which spores are liberated by rain drops and wind currents; white, becoming discolored and eventually sometimes brownish; with a white, fleshy interior at first; later with yellowish to olive granular flesh and eventually filled with brownish spore dust

Info From: MushroomExpert.Com

goldyrs, jpdenk, Hormon_Manyer, amanengone has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

I love the beautiful light and the completeness this shot has!
And then there's something, Ron...
I don't know what it is...
But it makes this shot so beautiful!

Hi Ron,

That's a really attractive shot, fine detail, nice composition and beautiful soft light. And the mushrooms are in perfect condition, mature but not yet starting to deteriorate. A superb photo!

I got caught out in the woods during a thunderstorm once, wasn't my idea of fun. I always carry a small garbage bag with me just in case too, although my main camera bag has proven its water-resistance when I left it in my friend's boat when we were in Wisconsin, docked and went to town for groceries, and a heavy thunderstorm hit while we were gone. The outside of the bag was very wet, but everything inside was nice and dry, so a good camera bag is a very good thing for a nature photographer to have.

Nice job!


Hi Ron,

I agree with John (jpdenk), it's a nice photo, sharp, and showing plenty of details. Although next time don't be afraid of making a short "gardening": there's a dry leave, in the center of the pic, which "tries to hide" the closest fruitbody and is, by my opinion a disturbing compositional element here. Otherwise the image's pleasant to look at. Tfs.

Some addition to Your note: It's a very common specie here in Europe, too, and very probably on the whole Northern hemisphere. Morganella pyriformis (Schaeff.) Kreisel & D. Krüger (2003) isn't a valid taxon anymore, its current name's Lycoperdon pyriforme Schaeff., Fung. Bavar. Palat. 4: 128 (1774). That specie's much smaller in size, always growing in bunch, and only on rotting wood (mostly on broadleaved, very rarely on pines). You can always check out the valid taxons in Index Fungorum.

Best regards from Hungary, László

Hello Ron.

Amazing photograph from that group of pufballs.

Very good sharpness and depth of field. The colors are fine as well as the contrast. Interesting point of view and good composition of the picture. In my opinion, there is one point: I think that it would have be better to remove the leaf staying over the first mushroom on the right side of the photograph.

Very instructive notice. I learn a lot with it.

Hope to see youn soon on treknature.

All the best.


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