We spotted these fine specimens on Old Pool Bank – often present in densely-packed bunches they have been described as “the banana of the fungi world”. They grow on the decaying wood of both deciduous and coniferous trees. Ours were quite spherical, but they can be pear-shaped - the fungus is also known as Pear-shaped Puffball. The genus name is Lycoperdon, which literally means “wolf’s flatulence”. You can see the central pore (hole) which ruptures to allow the dispersal of spores by the wind and rain. This is a fungus that you will see described favourably on foraging websites, BUT they vary in colour from white to yellowish brown (as they age), and are not dissimilar to poisonous varieties (eg Earthballs), so be VERY careful. We breathe in thousands of harmless fungi spores everyday, but if you inhaled a large amount of Stump Puffball spores eg from a mature specimen, you could be at risk of lung disease.
By Neil Griffin Photo by River Six