Lycoperdon pyriforme, commonly known as the pear-shaped puffball or stump puffball, is a saprobic fungus present throughout much of the world. Emerging in autumn, this puffball is common and abundant on decaying logs of both deciduous and coniferous wood. It is considered a choice edible when still immature and the inner flesh is white.
The fungus was first described in the scientific literature by Jacob Christian Schaeffer in 1774. In 2001, DNA evidence compiled by Dirk Krüger and a number of other mycologists suggested that the genus Lycoperdon was polyphyletic, with the pear-shaped puffball differing most significantly from the group. This finding was supported by several morphological differences including the presence of rhizomorphs and its preference for wood. A 2003 publication of further research moved the puffball to the genus Morganella with the specific epithet's ending changed for agreement. In 2008, however, Larsson and Jeppson revisited the phylogeny of the Lycoperdaceae, with a broader sampling of species, and retained the taxon in Lycoperdon. The specific epithet pyriforme is Latin for "pear-shaped".
The fruit body of the pear-shaped puffball measures 1.5 to 4.5 cm in width by 2 to 4.5 cm in height. They are often pear-shaped as the name suggests, but they may also be nearly spherical. When very young they are covered in small white spines that typically fall off before maturity. A small developing pore may be visible at the top, while the sterile base of the mushroom is small and appears to be pinched in. Colour ranges from nearly white to yellowish brown with the darker shades developing with age. The central pore ruptures at late maturity to allow the wind and rain to disperse the spores. The base is attached to the wood by means of rhizomorphs (thick, cord-like strands of mycelium).
The gleba, or inner spore mass, is white when young, but it becomes greenish-yellow to dark olive-brown with age. The spores measure 3 to 4.5 µm and are round, smooth and a dark olive-brown in colour.
- "Lycoperdon pyriforme Schaeff". Species Fungorum. International Mycological Association. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
- Kuo M. (November 2004). "Morganella pyriformis". MushroomExpert.Com.
- Lincoff GH. (1981). National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. New York: Random House. p. 826. ISBN 0-394-51992-2.
- Schaeffer JC. (1774). Fungorum qui in Bavaria et Palatinatu Nascuntur Icones. 4. p. 128.
- Krüger D, Kreisel H. (2003). "Proposing Morganella subgen. Apioperdon subgen. nov. for the puffball Lycoperdon pyriforme". Mycotaxon. 86: 169–77.
- 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 (Pt 1): 4–22. doi:10.1016/j.mycres.2007.10.018. PMID 18207380.
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