|no distinct cap|
|hymenium attachment is not applicable|
|lacks a stipe|
|spore print is brown|
Bovista plumbea, also referred to as the paltry puffball, is a small puffball mushroom commonly found in Western Europe and California, white when young and greyish in age. Easily confused with immature Bovista dermoxantha, it is attached to the substrate by a tuft of mycelium.
The fruiting body of the sporocarp is 1.5–3.5 cm broad, attached to the substrate by a tuft of mycelium, and spherical to slightly compressed. The exoperidium is white, becoming buff to pale-tan and minutely tomentose, and sometimes areolate. It eventually flakes away, or peels off in sheets, the latter occurring at maturation in hot, dry conditions. In contrast, the endoperidium membranes are lead-grey, with or without adhering fragments of exoperidium. They often live in scattered to clustered in disturbed areas, especially in sparse grass. They are edible when young and white, but are often considered too small for eating.
Spores are 5.0–6.5 x 4.0–5.5 µm, ovoid, thick-walled, and nearly smooth, with a central oil droplet, and a 7.5–11.5 µm pedicel. The capillitium is composed of individual elements, rather than interwoven, main branches thick-walled, flexuous, rapidly tapering, forking more or less dichotomously, ochre-colored in KOH.
The spores are released via a small apical pore. The gleba is white, turning dingy yellowish, olive-brown, finally dark-brown and firm-textured. However, the subgleba and sterile base are usually absent. Fruiting occurs throughout the mushroom season.
Obsolete synonyms for B. plumbea include:
- Bovista ovalispora Cooke & Massee 1887
- Bovista plumbea Pers. 1796
- Bovista plumbea var. ovalispora (Cooke & Massee) F. Šmarda 1958
- Calvatia bovista (L.) Pers. 1896
- Lycoperdon bovista Sowerby 1803
- Lycoperdon plumbeum Vittad. 1842
- Bovista plumbea Archived March 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- Species: Bovista plumbea Pers. 1795 Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
- Smith, A.H. (1951). Puffballs and Their Allies in Michigan. University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, MI. 131 p.
- Kreisel, H. (1967). Taxonomisch-Pflanzengeographische Monographie Der Gattung Bovista. J. Cramer: Lehre. 244 p.
- California Fungi: Bovista plumbea
- Calonge, F.D. (1998). Flora Mycologica Iberica. Vol. 3. Gasteromycetes, I. Lycoperdales, Nidulariales, Phallales, Sclerodermatales, Tulostomatales. J. Cramer: Berlin, Germany. 271 p.