Common Puffball

(Lycoperdon perlatum)

Conservation Status
Common Puffball
Photo by Luciearl
  IUCN Red List

not listed


not listed


not listed


Common Puffball is a very common, very widespread, easily recognized mushroom. It has a worldwide distribution, found on every continent including Antarctica. It may be the most abundant woodland puffball in North America, though in Minnesota Pear-shaped Puffball is more common. It grows on the ground in deciduous, coniferous, and mixed woodlands under trees, on roadsides, in open areas, and even in urban areas. It is usually found in clusters, though it is sometimes alone, scattered, or close together but not clustered. It obtains its nutrients from decaying organic matter (saprobic).

The fruiting body is 1¼ to 3¾ tall or taller and 1 to 2¾ wide or wider. It is shaped like an upside-down pear, with a broad, round or flattened top and a narrowed stem-like base. It is white and is densely covered with small, white, cone-shaped spines and more numerous tiny, white spines and granules between them. The spines are easily rubbed off and as the puffball matures they turn brown and fall off. The large spines leave conspicuous pockmarks. As the puffball ages, the outer scarred layer turns yellowish-brown and sloughs away, exposing a smooth, dark brown inner layer. A raised pore forms on the top of the maturing puffball. When ripe the pore ruptures, exposing the spore mass. Pores are disbursed through the opening by wind, rain drops, falling twigs, and curious hikers.

The base is sterile, thick, chambered, and often wrinkled. It is white and spongy when young, turning yellow then olive then brown as it ages.

The flesh (spore mass) is white and firm when young, becoming soft and first yellow then olive-brown. When ripe, the spore mass is dry, powdery, and brown. It is edible when firm and white but is bland and may be bitter.


Similar Species

Habitat and Hosts

Deciduous, coniferous, and mixed woodlands, fields and other grassy areas, roadsides, and urban areas




July to November


Distribution Map



4, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.




Very widespread and very common

  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subphylum Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushrooms, bracket fungi, puffballs, and allies)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Agaricales (common gilled mushrooms and allies)  
  Suborder Suborder Agaricineae  
  Family Lycoperdaceae (puffballs)  
  Genus Lycoperdon  

The family Lycoperdaceae was formerly placed in the order Lycoperdales. Recent molecular phylogenetic studies resulted in a resturcturing of fungal taxonomy. Genera formerly in the families Tulostomataceae, Battarreaceae, Lycoperdaceae, and Mycenastraceae have been moved to Agaricaceae. The move has been universally accepted.

The genus Lycoperdon was formerly placed in the family Lycoperdaceae. Recent phylogenetic analysis showed that family to be a subgroup within the family Agaricaceae. The move has not been universally accepted. Index Fungorum, MycoBank, Catalog of Life, and NCBI all include Lycoperdon in the family Lycoperdaceae.

The genus name Lycoperdon is formed from the Latinized form of the Greek words lykos, meaning “wolf”, and perdesthai, meaning “to break wind”—wolf fart.




Lycoperdon bonordenii

Lycoperdon gemmatum

Lycoperdon perlatum var. bonordenii


Common Names


Common Puffball

Devil’s Snuffbox

Gem-studded Puffball

Wolf-fart Puffball










A term often used for saprotrophic fungi. Referring to fungi that obtain their nutrients from decayed organic matter.

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Tim O’Keefe

    Common Puffball   Common Puffball  


    Common Puffball   Common Puffball  








Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Lycoperdon Perlatum AKA Gem Studded PuffBall Mushroom
Walt Reven Jr

Published on Jun 18, 2018

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ANOTHER VIDEO I FORGOT TO MAKE PUBLIC! July 2017, spores arent the spiked parts like I said(my knowledge has increased since this video) they are actually inside this mushroom!

Found off the bike path in hardwood trees, there was a bunch of these neat things growing all over the place!




Visitor Sightings

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  Tim O’Keefe

Location: Becker County

Common Puffball


Location: Cass County

Common Puffball







Created: 11/2/2018

Last Updated:

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