Posted by John 8-2/13

John: We found quite a few of these in the high desert of Central and South East Oregon on our annual hang gliding trip. They fit Arora's characteristics of a puffball: No stem, papery outsides, white. He mentions that there are desert species. These were as big as a baseball or softball, but not as satisfying to hit. Perhaps more nutritious to eat?

Mike: It sure looks like a puffball. A shame that the second photo is so blurry. I don't know our local species, even less those in central Oregon, but I imagine a little research online or working with the large Aurora book (or even MatchMaker) would help you find a name for it.

No puffball that I know of is good to eat unless the inside is pure white. The insides gain color (muddy yellow and then black) as the spores mature, and when they are fully mature, the fungus will release the spores when hit. By that time, they are usually black inside.

Dick: Calvatia booniana is known to fruit in the type of areas you describe. They are described as being 20 to 60 cm across so yours seems a little small. Were they all about that size or were some bigger?

John: These were much smaller, like 1/4 to 1/3 that size, so it must be a different species. I agree with Mike that it does look like a puffball from the pictures I've seen.

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