Lycoperdon excipuliforme: the pestle puffball

It is not hard to see how this fungus got the common name of the pestle puffball (Lycoperdon excipuliforme) when you see its distinctive shape, just like a pestle used to crush things in a mortar in the laboratory or the kitchen! It looks as though a cap should burst forth any moment but it soes not, it is a species of puffball.
This is a species of rich, acidic soils and can be found on short turf and woodland path edges on heathland here in Dorset. My book reckons it is common but my limited experience of fungi tells me it is not seen that often. A summer and autumn species, it is a bit difficult to tell apart from another species, Lycoperdon utriforme, however, excipluliforme is somewhat slimmer than the plumper utriforme and so I have based my identification on that. It starts white but soon turns a dull greyish brown.
Supposedly edible when young but how do you decide how old they are?
Lycoperdon excipuliforme: the pestle puffball

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