L. pyriforme formation/maturation

When the basidiocarp is young, the white interior (gleba) consists of chambers which are coated with basidia and basidiospores.  As the fungus matures, the gleba breaks down and the spores darken and mature.   At first it’s fleshy and moist inside, however maturation leads to a drying effect.  It is only after maturation that the dry, powdery spores are able to be exposed to the air and released into the environment.                                                                        

                                                                                                                              photo by swan-scot at 

L. pyriforme mushroom

The upper, sperical portion of the mushroom is generally the center of attention since it produces and contains the spores.  It is commonly pear shaped so that spores are only able to be expelled through the top.  When mature, pressure causes spores to be expelled through a hole that is dissolved in the top.  The ball portion also has an outer coat covered in spikes or raised scales to serve structural and protective functions.  The gleba is composed of a single sheet of thread-like structures; many of its relatives have two sheets rather than one.


photograph taken by Tom Volk

A certain L. pyriforme relative named Calvatia gigantea is known to produce one of the largest fungal fruiting bodies in the world!


I encourage any curious individuals to investigate fun things to do puffballs!

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