Demise of a Puff Ball

About two weeks ago, something white sprung up in my lawn.



It wasn’t large. Yet. But I knew what to expect. I got out the ruler.

August 20.

Puff Ball Aug 20


August 22.

puff ball 22


This is a puff ball mushroom. It’s edible, but it won’t be appearing on my plate. Eleven years ago I went to a special dinner put on by a mycological society. Eight courses, each prepared with a different, professionally foraged wild mushroom. I was the only person out of the forty in attendance to have a reaction. I ended up in the hospital with severe pain and a migraine that didn’t go away for three days. Fortunately, I didn’t suffer any permanent damage.

So, the puff balls that appear on my lawn get to do what they do naturally. After getting humungous, they change color.

August 25.

puff ball 25

I might not want to eat it, but someone did, and drilled a hole to get inside.


August 26.

puff ball 26


August 28.

puff ball 28

It was an exceptionally dry and hot week, so the skin on the puff ball crackled and flaked.


August 30.

puff ball 30


Finally, it rained, and the puff ball let loose its spores and disintegrated back into the earth.

September 1.

Puff ball sept 1

Drama happens all around.


Note: Spaces remain in the Chicken Keeping Workshop and the Advanced Chicken Keeping Workshop on September 28. Sign up now!


  1. Dramatic and amazing! We used to see them popping up around this time of year at my parent’s cottage years ago. Some of them were huge – more that a foot across. I had no idea that they were edible.

  2. i have one here – i’ll keep an eye on it, but yesterday it was still little. may it will get bigger as the days go by. will let you know.
    oh ‘here’ is s.w.wisconsin

  3. It has been a bumper summer here in central NC for all kinds of mushrooms. Large, small, white, brown, red, pink, yellow, black and as reported in the newspaper a never-before-seen by a local expert, green. I even had one that looked like a fried egg, white with a yellow center. They have been popping up everywhere.

  4. Oh, my! To not be able to eat mushrooms! :( You poor thing! Glad you survived without any damage. Loved the photos. Mushrooms that venture out into our lawn get sucked up by the lawn mower.

  5. Wild mushrooms can’t be taken lightly…I’ve never had any myself (unless you count those little bags of “Dried Wild Mushrooms” that they used to sell at Trader Joe’s.)
    This summer I’d bought a home-grown oyster mushroom kit, and somehow I goofed, and it didn’t produce. So I put it outdoors, and within two weeks mushrooms appeared. My husband was wary of them, but I was certain there hadn’t been enough time for some wild fungus to colonize the kit. I ate them anyways…delicious! Fried in a tiny amount of peanut oil, they smelled like they’d been sauteed in half a cup of butter…amazing!

    • -I do wonder sometimes, if mushroom hunters collect the mushrooms before they release spores, won’t there be fewer and fewer mushrooms to hunt for?

  6. Who is the drilling mushroom lover? Was it one of the girls, or do you have feral mycolophiles wandering the woods?

  7. I know,that such species are growing in underground as well as you can`t believe! No matter! If you don`t want to eat it it won`t be bad! But if one try to erasure it, one will fail absolutely! So it is!
    WG, Lia!