Puffballs and Friends

Lycoperdon (like a pear) perlatum is an easily-identified clustered mushroom that fruits in the spring and fall.  The main trick is making sure to cut each mushroom in half to look for any structure developing that might indicate an Amanita button.  Cutting in half helps you decide if the puffball is fresh enough to harvest with its pure white marshmallow center, with no discolor. These are best dried and ground before reconstituting for the best cream of mushroom soup or excellent soup stock.

Sculpted puffball, Calvatia sculpta, found in Ochocos and High lakes in spring and fall.

Earth stars, puffballs that open up and curl their outer skin to form a pedestal that lifts the spore sack.

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