Name Variations Edit
- puffball mushroom
About Puff ball mushroom Edit
Wikipedia Article About Puff ball mushroom on Wikipedia
Firm, round, white mushrooms that can range in size from 4 ounces to a giant 50-pounder. They have a mild, nutty flavor that complements many foods. Puffball mushrooms are available sporadically in specialty produce markets. They can be cut into thick or thin slices, breaded and sautéed, or chopped and used in a variety of dishes.
A puffball is a member of any of a number of groups of fungus in the division Basidiomycota. The puffballs were previously treated as a taxonomic group called the Gasteromycetes or Gasteromycetidae, but they are now known to be a polyphyletic assemblage. Their distinguishing feature is that they have gasterothecia (gasteroid basidiocarps) in which the spores are produced internally; that is, the basidiocarp remains closed, or opens only after the spores have been released from the basidia. The spores of puffballs are statismospores rather than ballistospores, meaning they are not actively shot off the basidium. They are called puffballs because of the cloud of brown dust-like spores which are emitted when the mature fruiting body bursts. Puffballs and similar forms are thought to have evolved repeatedly (that is, in numerous independent events) from hymenomycetes by gasteromycetation, through secotioid stages. Thus Gasteromycetes or Gasteromycetidae are now considered descriptive terms (more properly gasteroid or gasteromycetes) and not valid cladistic terms.