Plant Guide > Mushrooms > Genus Calvatia > Calvatia Maxima

Calvatia Maxima

Calvatia maxima

Giant Puffball

Peridium or Pouch - Very large, 8-15 inches in diameter, or larger. Globose, depressed globose, or obovoid, with a thick cordlike root.

Bark or Outer Coat - Flocculous or nearly smooth, thin, and fragile. White or greyish, becoming yellowish or brown; usually remaining closely adherent to the inner coat.

Inner Coal - Thin and fragile after maturity, breaking up into fragments.

Subgleba - Shallow or none.

Spores and Threads - Greenish yellow, then brownish olive. Spores globose, threads long and branched.

Time - August to September.

Habitat - Grassy places.

Calvatia maxima has been known as Lycoperdon giganteum, and also as Lycoperdon maxima. It has been transferred from the genus Lycoperdon to the genus Calvatia because it ruptures the peridium irregularly to discharge its spores, instead of forming a small hole at the apex, as other Lycoperdons do.

It is asserted on good authority that the giant puffball has been found with a diameter of three feet and a weight of forty-seven pounds. The giant puffball is considered by many as a choice article of food when the flesh is white. It is said that if the flesh of a growing puffball is cut or injured the wounds will fill up with new tissue. It will be interesting for some one to try this experiment.

In the days before matches came into use, the dry, spongy threads were used as tinder to catch the sparks which flew from the flint-stone when it was struck for fire, and the spore-dust was used to stanch the flow of blood.