Morganella pyriformis (Schaeff.) Kreisel & D. Krüger, 2003
Common names: Pear-shaped puffball [En], Vesse de loup pyriforme, Vesse de loup en forme de poire [Fr], Peervormige stuifzwam [Nl], Birnen-Stäubling [De]
Meise, BRABANT ● Belgium
Taxonomy: Preliminary DNA research conducted by Krüger et al. (2001) suggested the genus Lycoperdon, which held Morganella pyriformis, was "polyphyletic" (Mycologese for "They don't all fit in there!"), and that Lycoperdon pyriforme was one of the black sheep. The authors pointed out that, even without DNA testing, the species was distinct from other members of Lycoperdon in several features, including its habitat on wood, its mycelial strings, and other non Lycoperdonish things. In a subsequent publication (2003), the mushroom was officially moved to Morganella.
Description: The fruiting 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.
When fruiting in lignin-rich soils, Morganella pyriformis can be confused with several Lycoperdon species, particularly L. perlatum, L. umbrinum, and L. molle. Lycoperdon perlatum occasionally occurs in clusters, but has larger conical spines which leave circular scars on the endoperium and a colored, not white subgleba in age.
Biology : Scattered to clustered on well-rotted stumps and woody debris, e.g. wood chips; also on lignin-rich soils; fruiting from after the fall rains to mid-winter.
Habitat: Common and abundant on decaying logs of both deciduous and coniferous wood.
Distribution: Present throughout much of the world.
Mushroom Expert, Morganella pyriformis
Wikipedia, Lycoperdon pyriforme