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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

06 October, 2009

Small Puffball (Lycoperdon pyriforme)

The leaves are turning to the colours of autumn and on the woodland floor fungi are beginning to burst from the soil and leaf litter. Still a week or two away from the main irruption but at the forefront of the emergence is the Small Puffball.

In Thorcombe Wood (Lower Bockhampton) they are now everywhere there is bear ground under the trees.

There are several species of 'puffball' and this is, by far, the most common. They are not all woodland species however, some are more common on pasture and some on heathland.

When they first start to emerge puff balls have this scaly appearance. They then start to age and dry out , turn paler and lose the scales. The ball is full of spores and when raindrops land on them the impact causes puffs of spores to be emitted from a hole on top of the ball, a but like a volcano blowing ash. As the fruiting body ages further so the wind will cause spores to distribute too.

So, if you see a puff ball, don't stamp on it - let it do its job naturally!