Giant Puffball

Common Name: Giant Puffball.

Scientific Name: Calvatia Gigantea.

What to look for?  A misshaped, round, white ball sitting on the soil in the woods. The Giant Puffball is shaped like a ball. When it first appears, it will be white before becoming yellowish or olive brownish as it turns to spore dust. There will be a short but thick cord at the point of attachment to the ground.

Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? The Giant Puffball may be seen growing sporadically throughout the forest district and our woodlands during the early fall.

How big are they? The Giant Puffball grows up one (1) foot or more in diameter and has a height of ten (10) or more inches.

Where do they grow and thrive? The native Giant Puffball is found in open woodland areas and clearings across the central and eastern U. S. and Canada. These mushrooms often appear after wet spells.

When do they bloom? The Giant Puffball appears during the fall months.

Do birds, insects or other wildlife associate with this plant? No.

Interesting Facts About the Giant Puffball:

  • Calvatia Gigantea is a harbinger of fall, appearing in woods as the leaves are beginning to turn.

  • It is sometimes found growing in a circular arrangement commonly referred to as a “fairy ring.”

  • Unlike plants, fungi do not have roots, stems, leaves, flowers or seeds and must absorb nutrients and water from the objects it grows in.

For more information on the Giant Puffball and sources of information used in this blog (these are several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Illinois DNR, Cornell Mushroom Blog, Midwest Mycology, and the Mushroom Expert Blog.

The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.

 

Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!