Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Found: Puffball


This is the first Puffball we've ever found, and it was right in our own backyard! It is an odd fungi with no stem at all, just some minute fibers anchoring it to the ground. It's the size of a small potato and felt firm and heavy like one too. For a minute we thought it might be a moldy lemon, and then Annie said "smell it" and it definitely smelled like a mushroom. Very musty and earthy. We got our most trusted mushroom books out (namely Everything The Rain Promises and More by David Arora) , sliced it and identified it as a Puffball. Puffballs are edible when fresh, and often confused with the poisonous amanita "egg", so just to be safe, we didn't saute it and have it for lunch. Annie had been doing a crazy dance in the backyard when she stepped on it nestled in the grass and she said "Ewww, what did I just step on? " I guess it was cold and wet on her bare feet. Once dried these odd mushrooms emit a dusty powder when thrown or stepped on, hence the name Puffball. American Indians used the Puffball for food, medicine, incense, and as a favorite "ball" game. Annie and I are drying it so that we can have a "game" at spreading the spores in the yard for future possibilities.

5 comments:

Yolanda said...

oh, I used to love squashing puffballs as a kid. My granny called them the devils snuffbox.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful that nature, no matter how filled a city is with people, will still be there just waiting for a little girl to do her own "nature" dance.

Dawn said...

I totally thought of you last night as I am reading the book Five Quarters of the Orange (great book) and it mentioned puffballs...it was so funny to have never heard of them and then hear of them twice in one day! Very weird!

Dawn said...

Hi Patice, I received your email and I wanted to say that I received the book for free (from the online book swapping group www.paperbackswap.com) and I am about 100 pages from the end. I'd be happy to pass it along to you if you are interested. It's a great read, and I think you may really like it :) The author who wrote it also wrote Chocolat

Project Pink Suitcase said...

That's a great puffball story.
It's neat to hear about American Indians using puffballs for a game.
It sounds like your new backyard has lots to explore.