3 subspecies and varieties
Show only taxa with photos
– barometer earthstar, hygroscopic earthstar, water-measure earthstar
Description: Produces fruitbodies that are spherical at first. At maturity the thick outer skin splits and when damp peels back to form 6-12 rays or arms, revealing the puffball-like spore sack at the center. The rays are strongly hygroscopic and in dry weather curl back over the spore sack.
Substrate: on the ground
– bracken earthstar, giant hygroscopic earthstar
Habitat: roads, railroad tracks, in waste places, old fields, etc.
– desert drumstick, flatcap stalked puffball, scaly-stalked puffball, sandy stiltball
Description: The Sandy Stiltball emerges from a whitish, buried “egg” that may remain at the stem base or disintegrate. The cap or head is covered by a white, membranous skin at first, but this later splits apart to reveal a rusty brown spore mass. The stem is hard, dry, shaggy-scaly, and pale brown.
Habitat: Dry woodland, scrub, and desert
– tumbling puffball
Description: Spore case globose to subglobose, 2– 7 cm across; at first with white, fuzzy surface, wearing off to expose inner skin that is papery thin, metallic bronzy purplish, smooth; an irregular apical pore or simple ragged tear eventually forms near the top, releasing the spore mass; sterile base absent; base attached to soil by a single cordlike extension. Spore mass/gleba at first white, then becoming deep purplish, powdery; odor and taste mild.
Habitat: open woods and shrublands
Substrate: soil and leaf debris
Spores: late summer to fall
– grey puffball, lead-colored puffball, tumbling puffball, tumble-ball
Spores: fall and winter
– sculptured giant puffball, sculptured puffball, warted giant puffball
Description: Calbovista subsculpta has low, somewhat flattened, pyramidal warts; it has a distinct sterile base below the gleba.
Spores: late spring through summer
– purple-spored puffball, vase puffball
Description: Spore case 5– 19 cm across and 8– 15 cm high, often pear-shaped with a tapered sterile base; outer surface at first whitish tan becoming brown, soon cracking irregularly and flaking off as it ages. Sterile base chambered, prominent, occupying most of the narrow lower part of the fruiting body, often persisting as vase-shaped remnants when the spores have been dispersed. Gleba (interior) at first whitish, becoming yellow grayish, finally colored purple-brown as spores mature.
Habitat: Prairie grasslands, fields, and desert communities
Spores: summer to fall
Description: It is attached to the soil by a persistent white cord that is connected to a pleated base. The white to grayish surface is smooth to roughened or shallowly cracked. The peridium is thick and persistent, eventually breaking open or chewed through by rodents to release the spores. The soft white gleba becomes yellowish then dark brown and powdery. During development it often has a very strong unpleasant odor which seemingly would deter mycophagists seeking to eat them.
Distribution: Common in montane conifer forests during spring and summer
Habitat: Spruce, fir, and other mountain conifers
Substrate: duff (sometimes buried)
Spores: spring through early fall
– giant puffball
Substrate: fields, pastures, open woods, cemeteries, on exposed hillsides, along roads, in drainage ditches, etc.
– sculptured puffball, Sierran puffball
– small warted mountain puffball
– desert stalked puffball
– daisy earthstar, flower earthstar
– reddish earthstar, rosy earthstar
– bowl earthstar, rounded earthstar, sessile earthstar
Distribution: Earthstars are not particularly abundant in forested areas of the PNW. Many species are more characteristic of drier woodlands and even deserts, so the diversity of earthstars and many other gasteromycetes is much higher in the southwestern U.S. G. saccatum is widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere and we have seen it, or a dead-ringer for it, in Tasmania, Australia.
– collared earthstar, saucered earthstar
– dwarf puffball, small tumbling puffball
– smooth puffball, soft puffball
– dark puffball, dusky puffball
Habitat: Conifer forests and alpine habitats
– warted puff-ball, gem puffball, gem-studded puffball, devil's snuffbox
Habitat: L. perlatum can be found in disturbed sites, such as forest roadsides, from late summer through fall whenever there is sufficient moisture.
– pear puffball, pear-shaped puffball, stump puffball
– dead-man's-foot, dyeball, pea-rock, dye-maker's false puffball, dyemaker's puffball
– leopard earthball, small potato
– common earthball, pigskin poison puffball, thick-skinned puffball, golden Scleroderma
– western lawn puffball, western lawn puffbowl