E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Lycoperdon pyriforme Schaeff.
pear-shaped puffball

Species account author: Ian Gibson.
Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #74786)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Lycoperdon pyriforme
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Species Information

Features include 1) pear-shaped to round, whitish to yellowish to brownish fruiting body without prominent spines, 2) white threads connecting the base to the wood it fruits on, 3) clustered growth, and 4) subgleba that remains white even when mature. Lycoperdon pyriforme is widely distributed and common. New York Botanical Garden has collections from WA, OR, ID, and also AB, ON, AK, AL, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, ME, MI, MO, MT, ND, NE, NH, NM, NY, OH, PA, SD, UT, WI, Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Venezuela, Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, (NYBG). It is also reported from AR, AZ, DE, MD, MN, MS, NC, NH, NJ, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WV, WY, (Bates). The Pacific Forestry Centre and the University of British Columbia have collections from BC.
Outer Surface:
1.5-5cm high and almost as wide, pear-shaped to nearly spherical; "whitish to pale brown when young", yellowish to dark rusty-brown when old; "at first smooth or with a few small scattered spines on top, then becoming finely cracked to form small patches
Inner layer:
papery, firm; whitish when young, then light to chestnut brown; "rarely entirely smooth"; ruptures at maturity to form a pore at top, (Breitenbach), pore at top irregular, often slit-like (McKnight), opening at the top, where there is a papilla, (Lincoff(
Spore Mass:
at first firm, finally powdery; white then yellow to olive and finally deep olive-brown, (Arora), in cross section "the gleba and subgleba are white when young, but the gleba becomes olive-brown and cottony-powdery when mature, while the subgleba remains
usually with stem-like sterile base that is small or well-developed, spongy when fresh with very small chambers, conspicuous white thread-like rhizomorphs usually radiating from base and connected to others in surrounding wood or humus, (Arora), conic, stem 1/3 to 1/2 the total height of fruiting body; with conspicuous basal rhizomorphs, (Breitenbach)
unpleasant (Breitenbach), strong, gas, (Buczacki)
mild (Breitenbach)
spores 3-4.5 x 3-4.5 microns, round, smooth, (Arora), spores 3.5-5.5 x 3.5-5.5 microns, round, "smooth, brownish, thick-walled", with droplets; basidia 9-13 x 3-4.5 microns, clavate, without basal clamp connection; capillitium 2.5-6 microns wide, brownish, elastic, branched, without septa, thick-walled, sometimes with bumps, without pores [pits]; paracapillitium 3-6 microns across, brownish, thin-walled, without clamp connections; sphaerocysts "irregularly rounded, fusiform, to polygonal-thorny", (Breitenbach)

Habitat / Range

scattered to densely gregarious or clustered on stumps, rotting logs, sawdust, and in lignin-rich humus, (Arora), usually "in clusters of up to dozens", more rarely single, on dead, usually rotten wood of hardwoods and conifers, "commonly on stumps and roots, sometimes also on soil, but then always connected to wood by mycelial strands", (Breitenbach), fruits in fall, but spore cases persist throughout year, (McKnight), also on dead Fomes fomentarius (Schalkwijk-Barendsen), summer to fall (Buczacki)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Morganella pyriformis Schaeff.) Kreisel & D. Krueger

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


edible when young, may be bitter if not absolutely white and firm inside, (Arora)

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Breitenbach(2)*, Arora(1)*, Bowerman(1), Lincoff(2)*, Lincoff(1)*, Ammirati(1)*, Phillips(1)*, Miller(14)*, Bessette(2)*, Schalkwijk-Barendsen(1)*, Courtecuisse(1)*, McKnight(1)*, Sept(1)*, Trudell(4)* (as Morganella pyriformis), NYBG(1) (accessed Sep. 24

References for the fungi

General References