By William T. Hathaway

Puffball (Calvatia gigantea)

Although this puffball when fresh was as spherical as a basketball, it had slowly slumped into more of an oval shape. This Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) is known to commonly appear from August to October. Open woodlands, pastures, and lawns are preferred habitats.

When this species is fresh with a white inside, mushroom connoisseurs consider it an excellent edible mushroom that can be batter-fried or sautéed. In its smaller form it can be confused with many other similar mushrooms. Therefore, no person should eat any mushroom without the advice of an expert.

This specimen was discovered on Dr. C. B. Strange's farm in the southern part of Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms states, “An average-size specimen has been estimated to contain 7 trillion spores.”