Lycoperdon perlatum

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Gem-studded puffball
Lycoperdon perlatum
Lycoperdon perlatum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Homobasidiomycetes
Order: Lycoperdales
Family: Lycoperdaceae
Genus: Lycoperdon
Species: L. perlatum
Binomial name
Lycoperdon perlatum

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Lycoperdon perlatum
mycological characteristics:
glebal hymenium

no distinct cap

hymenium attachment is irregular or not applicable

lacks a stipe

spore print is olive

ecology is saprotrophic

edibility: choice

The gem-studded puffball or devil's snuff-box (Lycoperdon perlatum) is a moderate sized puffball mushroom with a round fruiting body, tapering to a wide stalk. It is off-white with a top covered in short, spiny bumps or "jewels".

When mature, they become brown and a hole in the top opens to release spores which are released in a burst when the body is compressed by rain drops, a touch, falling nuts, etc.


Three features distinguish this mushroom in its edible stage from the later, mature stage, and from other mushrooms:

  • The white, spiny looking exterior with "gems" or "studs" which are soft and detach when manipulated.
  • The outer shape is rounded and tapering, often inverted pear-shaped with no openings visible.
  • The inner structure is uniform, soft and pure white when the mushroom is immature and edible. Forms with mature spore-bearing tissues are are yellow to olive on the interior.

If the inner structure is hard or contains gills or an inner stem, then it is not the gem-studded puffball, and may be poisonous—potentially even deadly.


Gem-studded puffballs are considered to be a choice edible mushroom when young and the gleba is homogeneous and white. They become inedible as they mature: the gleba becomes yellow-tinged, then finally develops into a mass of powdery olive-green spores.

The immature "buttons" or "eggs" of deadly Amanita species can be confused with puffballs. For this reason puffballs should always be sliced vertically and inspected for the developing structures of a mushroom. However, Amanitas will generally not have 'jewels' or a bumpy surface, for the most part.

Gem-studded puffball spores are ornamented with many sharp, microscopic spines and can cause severe irritation of the lung (lycoperdonosis) when deliberately inhaled (Anon. 1994; Strand 1967).


  • Strand RD, Neuhauser EBD, Sornberger CF. 1967. Lycoperdonosis. New England Journal of Medicine 277:89-91.

External links

cs:Pýchavka obecná de:Flaschenstäubling it:Lycoperdon perlatum lt:Karpotasis pumpotaukšlis hr:Tikvasta puhara hu:Bimbós pöfeteg nl:Parelstuifzwam fi:Känsätuhkelo wa:Vesse di leu