I found one.
It’s plump.
Come see this
mushroom pump.
It’s spitting
spore on spore.
I’m squeezing
more and more.
Smoke scatters
summer air.
Puffball babies

-Amy Ludwig Vanderwater in the book Forest Has a Song

Immature white puffballs on left and mature brown puffballs on right

Now is the time of year to be on the lookout for puffballs to puff! Puffballs spend most of the year as mycelium (underground thread-like network) digesting dead wood. When ready to reproduce, the mycelium develops puffballs above ground. At first the mushrooms are white, covered in tiny bumps and solid inside. As they mature in the fall, the puffballs transform into a brown hollow chamber, filled with powdery spores. A pore forms at the top of the mushroom where spores are released in brown clouds with the impact of falling raindrops, scampering animals, or some gentle poking. 

The latin name for these puffballs was Lycoperdon pyriforme (which in direct translation is “Wolf-fart Pear Shape”), but due to DNA analysis, they are now in their own genus – Apioperdon pyriforme. More commonly they are called Pear-shaped Puffballs or Stump Puffballs. As you’re exploring puffballs, think about what names you have for this mushroom. How high and how far can you make the puffball spores go? Can you find the biggest and smallest puffballs? Can you incorporate puffballs into a fairy house? Happy puffball puffing! 

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