Family Foraging: Giant Puffball Mushroom

Learn how to identify and pick this unusually large, ball-shaped mushroom. You can find it in North America and Europe.

| October 2019

puffball-mushrooms

Giant Puffball

Calvatia Gigantea

Puffballs are practically unmistakable: they are large, ball-shaped mushrooms, which can grow to the size of a basketball or even bigger! Yet despite their size and shape, they can be hard to find. It is easy to get excited when you think you have found one growing, only to get closer and find out it is a soccer ball or a plastic bag.

Shape

Puffballs are irregularly shaped, but can be seen as roughly ball shaped, or like an egg or a football on its side. They have a smooth skin which some say feels a little like suede.



Size

Their size can range between that of a grapefruit and a soccer ball. 

What to avoid

Some poisonous mushrooms can look like puffballs, but it is possible to distinguish by cutting into them.  A poisonous mushroom will look like a mushroom within a mushroom, whereas a puffball’s flesh is a constant and unbroken white all the way through. Puffballs also have no stalk.



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