Giant Lawn Marshmallow?

Yesterday afternoon I saw a large white ball on the lawn. I asked Lily if she left her toy out. She said no, it’s not mine.

What could it be?

It’s about ten inches across. It feels soft, and yet solid and light, like a marshmallow.

Its insides look like a marshmallow, too.

Can anyone identify this mushroom?


  1. It is a puffball mushroom. Looks to be at perfect ripeness, too. They are commonly found on lawns… I always find a few growing outside our horses’ pasture fence. They’re the ones that when mature, will explode in a puff of smoke (spores) when yo step on them or break them. When at the stage shown in the photo, they are excellent sliced and sauteed in butter, or mixed with eggs. Very mild flavor. When you find one. slice it open lengthwise to make sure it is indeed a puffball (the very poisonous Agaric mushrooms look very similar when young and yet to unfurl into the classic “umbrella” shape). If it is pure white inside, then it is good to eat. If it shows any signs of “gills” developing, then it is a young Agaric… DO NOT eat! If it has any signs of yellowing or discoloring inside, then it is past ripeness and will begin to taste bitter. I’m by no means a mushroom expert, but I do know the puffballs are safe to eat and a good intro to wild mushroom harvesting. :)

    • I don’t eat any wild mushrooms. A few years ago I went to a wild mushroom dinner – all professionally foraged mushrooms and cooked by a knowledgeable chef – and I ended up in the emergency room from mushroom poisoning! I was lucky to have “only” severe cramping and a migraine for 3 days. No permenamt damage. It turns out I’m one of those people that can’t tolerate any wild mushrooms, because no one else at the dinner go sick. So, I love looking at fungi, but I don’t eat them.

  2. Glad to learn what they are. Some years I get a lot in my yard in NW Atlanta and first thought someone was practicing golf shots in the neighborhood. They sure do POOF when you mow over them when they’re old.

  3. That’s a giant puffball. I had one once under the white pine trees in my backyard and (probably coincidently) right near the place we had our chicken run 30 years earlier. So big, so white and so perfectly round! Still waiting for its return … … …

  4. I’m with you, Terry. Can’t eat any mushrooms, but wild ones make me the sickest. I now refer to them as ‘poison units’ when I find them on restaurant menus. My husband is so used to me not eating them that he forgets sometimes that he likes them and doesn’t order them when he could.

  5. I have ejoyed watching what appears to me as “Goat Olympics” and can’t wait for you to share the photos.

    • Photo shoot! The goats were cooperating as much as goats do, which means not much at all. But they didn’t try to eat the camera this time (we learned – no tripod!)

  6. Well I certainly timed my visit badly! I’d love to have puffballs in my lawn…. you can sell them to restaurants round here for quite a bit! Would Steve eat it? Slice it and fry it in bacon fat (for health). Lucy’s mum found one the size of an upturned bucket in the garden and cordonned it off to stop the visitors pinching it!

  7. Terry, I laughed so hard, but I understand about not eating mushrooms. My niece graduated with a double major Chemistry and Biology – she refuses to eat any fungi!

  8. Those mushrooms can grow to be very large. They look like soccer balls in the yard. Our neighbor came over with a huge one a few years ago and took a bite out of it to show me they are, in fact, edible. I cooked some up but they smelled like locker room. They tasted like locker room would taste so despite their being plentiful and free- no puffball mushrooms for me. They do make a satisfying mess when you kick them like a ball, though!

  9. I’ve always wanted to try puffball … sliced and fried in bacon fat, I think!