What is a puffball?

Ball-shaped Mushroom

A puffball is a ball-shaped mushroom that gives off a puff of powdery spores when pinched.  It is a kind of mushroom growing in a field that looks very much like a round ball.

Anyone who has kicked a ripe puffball and watched the cloud of “smoke” puff out knows how the puffball gets its name.

Puffballs love sunlight and are often found in pastures on warm spring or summer days.  Most puffballs are only a few inches high.

The giant puffball, however, may grow to be 2 feet or more in diameter.  It is the largest of all mushrooms.  The puffs or “smoke” that burst out when the ripe puffball is touched or squeezed is really a cloud of powdery spores being cast off.

Spores are tiny cells something like seeds.  They are so tiny that they look like dust.  A single puffball produces so many spores that it is not possible to count them.  Each spore may grow into a new puffballs plant if it lands on warm, damp ground ideal for its growth into another puffball.–Dick Rogers

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