I’ve been reluctant to address fungus in this blog, not because I don’t appreciate it but rather because I know so little about it. Classifying it is well beyond my ken. (Although I suppose I could ask my uncle, who just retired from the USDA and for years drove a van with a bumper sticker that read, “Mycology is Mushrooming.” When I say that I think of my uncle when I see fungus, I mean it in only the best way.) Sometimes, though, I just can’t resist making a foray into another field. Because, let’s face it, fungus can be fun.
This week I encountered some puffballs growing on a felled log. They are the funny little fungi that squirt out greenish spores when you touch them. My boys love to squish them and watch the “smoke” disperse into the air, and, honestly, so do I.
After some research, I discovered that these fungi are called Pear-shaped Puffballs, or Lycoperdon pyriforme. I used various resources to confirm my identification, but perhaps the most helpful was the Maryland Biodiversity Project website (see http://marylandbiodiversity.com/viewSpecies.php?species=5036), which is concerned with cataloging all the living things in Maryland. I wouldn’t say that my puffballs were pear-shaped, but I’m not going to get into any body-shaming here. They puffed as well as any other puffball I’ve encountered.
Go have some fun with fungus!