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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!

30 April, 2016

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