Oct 25 2015
No, that’s not a soccer ball in the woods. It’s a giant puffball mushroom.
Giant puffballs (Calvatia gigantea) grow within a few weeks to become 4″ to 28″ in diameter. Really giant ones can be 59 inches across and weigh 44 pounds.
They’re edible while young (white inside), not edible when mature (anything but white inside; turns yellow then greenish-brown), and then they decompose.
Don’t rush out there and eat one unless you know what you’re doing. Here’s a video that describes how to identify and cook them.
Notice this mushroom’s size compared to the oak leaves. I wonder how much larger it will grow.
Close by was an open one, perhaps broken by an animal. It was still white inside.
I’d never seen giant puffballs in the city before but spied these during a long walk in my neighborhood last Sunday.
I left them where I found them. I’m not so fond of mushrooms that I’d pick and eat wild ones on my own.
(photos by Kate St. John)