From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bovista plumbea 128403.jpg
Bovista plumbea
Scientific classification

Pers. (1794)[1]
Type species
Bovista plumbea
Pers. (1795)

Bovista is a genus of fungi commonly known as the true puffballs. It was formerly classified within the now-obsolete order Lycoperdales, which, following a restructuring of fungal taxonomy brought about by molecular phylogeny, has been split; the species of Bovista are now placed in the family Agaricaceae of the order Agaricales. Bovista species have a collectively widespread distribution, and are found largely in temperate regions of the world. Various species have historically been used in homeopathic preparations.


Fruit bodies are oval to spherical to pear-shaped, and typically 1 to 8 cm (0.4 to 3.1 in) in diameter with a white or light-colored thin and fragile exoperidum (outer layer of the peridium). Depending on the species, the exoperidium in a young specimen may be smooth, granular, or finely echinulate.[6] This exoperidium sloughs off at maturity to expose a smooth endoperidium with a single apical pore (ostiole). The fruit bodies may be attached to the ground by fine rhizomorphs that may appear like a small cord. Some species develop a subgleba—a sterile base that is typically not well developed.[7] The fruit bodies of mature specimens can develop surface alterations such as scales, plates, areolae, or verrucae. At the microscopic level, these features are made of hyphae, sphaerocysts (rounded cells), claviform (club-shaped) cells.[7] Bovista sclerocystis is the only species in the genus with mycosclereids (setoid elements) in the peridium.[8]

Spores are brown to purple-brown, roughly spherical or ellipsoid in shape, and 3.5–7 μm in diameter. A short or long pedicel (stalk) may be present. At maturity, the entire fruit body may become detached from the ground, and the spores spread as the puffball is blown around like a tumbleweed.[9]

In Bovista, the capillitium (a network of thread-like cells in which the spores are embedded) is not connected directly to the interior wall of the peridium. Instead, it is made of separate, irregularly branched units that end in tapered points.[10] This type of capillitium, also present in the puffball genera Calbovista and Bovistella, has been called the "Bovista" type by Hanns Kreisel, who published a monograph on Bovista in 1967. Kreisel also defined the "Lycoperdon"-type (a capillitium comprising long, threads with occasional dichotomous or irregular branches), and the "intermediate" type (a transitional form between the Bovista type and Lycoperdon type, featuring threads that may be pored, with several thick main stems connected by multiple branches).[11] All three types of capillitia structure are found in Bovista. "Bovista"-type capillitia are elastic, a feature shared with the gasteroid genera Lycoperdon and Geastrum. The flexibility of the capillitium gives the gleba a cottony texture that persists even after the exoperidium has been sloughed off.[12]


Illustration of Bovista plumbea from James Sowerby's 1797 work Coloured figures of English fungi or mushrooms

The genus was originally described by mycologist Christiaan Hendrik Persoon in 1794. He described the genus as "Cortice exteriore libero evanefcente, pileo acauli demum glaberrimo, vertice irregulariter rupto" ("Exterior cortex vanishes, cap stemless becoming smooth, irregularly breaking the top").[1] Synonyms include Piesmycus (Rafinesque 1808), Piemycus (Rafinesque 1813), Sackea (Rostkovius 1844), Globaria (Quélet 1873), and Pseudolycoperdon (Velenovský 1947). Bovista plumbea is the type species.[5]

Kreisel, in his 1967 monograph, proposed two subgenera based on the type of capillitium. Subgenus Globaria has species of the Lycoperdon type, while subgenus Bovista is represented by the Bovista-type or intermediate capillitium. Further divisions into sections and series is based on the capillitium type, the absence or presence of pores in the capillitia, and the presence or absence of a subgleba (a sterile base).[11] Phylogenetic analysis has shown that Bovista, as defined by Kreisel,[11][13] is monophyletic.[14] Also, Bovista may be split into two clades, Bovista and Globaris, that roughly correspond to the subgeneric divisions suggested by Kreisel.[15]


Puffballs of the genus Bovista are generally edible when young and white inside, but caution must be taken to prevent confusion with immature, and potentially deadly Amanitas. This is done by cutting fruit bodies longitudinally to ensure that they are white throughout, and do not have internal structures within.[16]

Related genera[edit]

Bovistina is a related but separate genus that was created to describe species with the external features of a puffball, but with the glebal characters of a Geaster.[17] Bovistella is another similar genus, it may be distinguished from Bovista by its ample sterile base.[18]

Use in homeopathy[edit]

Reference to the genus has appeared in several 19th-century textbooks on homeopathy. Richard Hughes wrote in A Manual of Pharmacodynamics (1870) "Bovista is said to be indicated, and to have proved curative in head affections characterised by a sensation as if the head were enormously increased in size".[19] In Lectures on Clinical Materia Medica (1887), E. A. Farrington claims that Bovista spores restrict blood circulation through the capillaries, and suggests uses associated with menstrual irregularity, or trauma. He also mentions that Bovista produces some symptoms of suffocation, and might be useful in remedying asphyxiation resulting from inhalation of charcoal fumes.[20] Even more ailments have been suggested to be improved with use of Bovista, such as "awkwardness in speech and action", "stuttering or stammering children", "palpitation after a meal", diabetes mellitus, ovarian cysts, and "acne due to cosmetics".[21]


The Dictionary of the Fungi (10th edition, 2008) estimates there are 55 Bovista species worldwide.[22] Index Fungorum lists 92 species that it considers to be valid.[23]

reported in South Africa[24]
reported causing fairy rings in Chiba City (Japan)[26]
reported from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina[27]
Originally collected in Iceland[31]
found in Finland[33]
reported from Mexico[8]
reported from Nor Yungas, Bolivia[27]
reported form Viña del Mar, Chile[27]
reported from Nepal[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Persoon C.H. (1794). "Dispositio methodica fungorum" [Methodical arrangement of the fungi]. Neues Magazin für die Botanik (in Latin). 1: 6.
  2. ^ Rostkovius FWT. (1839). Deutschlands Flora, Abt. III. Die Pilze Deutschlands (in German). 5–18. Nürnberg: Sturm. p. 33.
  3. ^ Quélet L. (1873). "Les champignons du Jura et des Vosges. IIe Partie". Mémoires de la Société d'Émulation de Montbéliard (in French). 5: 370.
  4. ^ Velenovský J. (1947). Novitates mycologicae novissimae. Prague. p. 93.
  5. ^ a b "Synonymy: Bovista Pers". Species Fungorum. CAB International. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
  6. ^ Ellis JB, Ellis MB (1990). Fungi without Gills (Hymenomycetes and Gasteromycetes): An Identification Handbook. London: Chapman and Hall. p. 220. ISBN 0-412-36970-2.
  7. ^ a b Bautista-Hernández S, Herrera T, Aguirre-Acosta E, Esqueda M (2011). "Contribution to the taxonomy of Bovista in Mexico". Mycotaxon. 118: 27–46. doi:10.5248/118.27.
  8. ^ a b Calonge FD, Kreisel H, Guzmán G (2004). "Bovista sclerocystis, a new species from Mexico" (PDF). Mycologia. 96 (5): 1152–1154. doi:10.2307/3762097. hdl:10261/91827. JSTOR 3762097. PMID 21148934.
  9. ^ Miller HR, Miller OK (1988). Gasteromycetes: Morphological and Developmental Features, with Keys to the Orders, Families, and Genera. Eureka, California: Mad River Press. pp. 31, 34. ISBN 0-916422-74-7.
  10. ^ Smith A.H. (1951). Puffballs and their Allies in Michigan. Michigan: University of Michigan Press. p. 75.
  11. ^ a b c d Kreisel H. (1967). "Taxonomisch-Pflanzengeographische monographie der Gattung Bovista". Beihefte zur Nova Hedwigia (in German). 25. Lehre, Germany: J. Cramer: 224. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Bates ST, Robertson RW, Desjardin DE (2009). "Arizona gasteroid fungi I: Lycoperdaceae (Agaricales, Basidiomycota)" (PDF). Fungal Diversity. 37: 153–207 (see p. 159).
  13. ^ Kreisel H. (1964). "Vorläufige Übersicht der Gattung Bovista Dill. ex Pers". Feddes Repertorium. 69 (3): 196–211. doi:10.1002/fedr.4880690306.
  14. ^ Krüger D, Binder M, Fischer M, Kreisel H (2001). "The Lycoperdales. A molecular approach to the systematics of some gasteroid mushrooms". Mycologia. 93 (5): 947–957. doi:10.2307/3761759. JSTOR 3761759.
  15. ^ Larsson E, Jeppson M (2008). "Phylogenetic relationships among species and genera of Lycoperdaceae based on ITS and LSU sequence data from north European taxa". Mycological Research. 112 (1): 4–22. doi:10.1016/j.mycres.2007.10.018. PMID 18207380.
  16. ^ McKnight VB, McKnight KH (1987). A Field Guide to Mushrooms, North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-91090-0.
  17. ^ Long WH, Stouffer DJ (1941). "Studies in the Gasteromycetes: II. Bovistina, a new genus". Mycologia. 33 (3): 270–273. doi:10.2307/3754761. JSTOR 3754761.
  18. ^ Miller HR, Miller OK (2006). North American Mushrooms: A Field Guide to Edible and Inedible Fungi. Guilford, Connecticut: Falcon Guide. ISBN 0-7627-3109-5.
  19. ^ Hughes, Richard Arthur Warren (1868). A Manual of Pharmacodynamics - Google Book Search. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  20. ^ Farrington, E. A. (1999-10-20). Lectures on Clinical Materia Medica - Google Book Search. ISBN 978-81-8056-194-8. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
  21. ^ Jain, J. P. (1997-01-01). Highlights of Homoeopathic Materia ... - Google Book Search. ISBN 978-81-7021-785-5. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  22. ^ Kirk PM, Cannon PF, Minter DW, Stalpers JA (2008). Dictionary of the Fungi (10th ed.). Wallingford, UK: CAB International. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-85199-826-8.
  23. ^ "Search by: name Bovista". Index Fungorum. CAB International. Retrieved 2014-11-18.
  24. ^ a b Devilliers JJR, Eicker A, Van der Westhuizen GCA (1989). "A new species of Bovista (Gasteromycetes) from South Africa". South African Journal of Botany. 55 (2): 156–158. doi:10.1016/S0254-6299(16)31200-5.
  25. ^ Coetzee JC, Van Wyk AE (2005). "Lycoperdaceae-Gasteromycetes – Bovista capensis, the correct name for Bovista promontorii". Bothalia. 35 (1): 74–75. doi:10.4102/abc.v35i1.374.
  26. ^ Terashima Y, Fukiharu T, Fujiie A (2004). "Morphology and comparative ecology of the fairy ring fungi, Vascellum curtisii and Bovista dermoxantha, on turf of bentgrass, bluegrass, and Zoysiagrass". Mycoscience. 45 (4): 251–260. doi:10.1007/s10267-004-0183-y. S2CID 84981546.
  27. ^ a b c Suarez VL, Wright JE (1994). "Three new South American species of Bovista (Gasteromycetes)". Mycotaxon. 50: 279–289.
  28. ^ Trierveiler-Pereira IG, Kreisel H, Baseia IG (2010). "New data on puffballs from the Northeast Region of Brazil". Mycotaxon. 111: 411–21. doi:10.5248/111.411.
  29. ^ Kreisel H, Hausknecht A (2002). "The gasteral Basidiomycetes of Mascarenes and Seychelles". Österreichische Zeitschrift für Pilzkunde. 11: 191–211.
  30. ^ Yousaf N, Kreisel H, Khalid AN (2013). "Bovista himalaica sp. nov. (gasteroid fungi; Basidiomycetes) from Pakistan". Mycological Progress. 12 (3): 569–74. doi:10.1007/s11557-012-0864-4. S2CID 14337846.
  31. ^ Hallgrimsson H. (1988). "Bovista lomosa Rostr. found in Iceland". Natturufraedingurinn. 58 (1): 27–30.
  32. ^ Devilliers JJR, Eicker A, Van der Westhuizen GCA (1989). "Notes on the structure of Bovista oblongispora and an amplified description of the species". South African Journal of Botany. 55 (2): 154–155. doi:10.1016/S0254-6299(16)31199-1.
  33. ^ Haeggstrom C.-A. (1997). "Bovista pusilloformis found in Finland". Memoranda Societatis Pro Fauna et Flora Fennica. 73 (2): 59–64.
  34. ^ Kreisel H, Hausknecht A (2006). "The gasteral Basidiomycetes of Mascarenes and Seychelles 2" (PDF). Österreichische Zeitschrift für Pilzkunde. 15: 137–42.
  35. ^ Kreisel H. (1976). "Gasteromyzeten aus Nepal II". Feddes Repertorium. 87 (1–2): 83–107. doi:10.1002/fedr.19760870106.

External links[edit]