Small Puff Ball (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!

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