Author: Jan Scholten
Synonyme: Lycoperdon gemmatum; Lycoperdon bonordenii; Lycoperdon perlatum.
Name: perlatum is Latin for "widespread".
English: Common puffball; Warted puffball; Gem-studded puffball; Devil's snuff-box; Pearly puff-ball; Blindman's bellows; No-eyes.
German: Flaschen-Stäubling; Flaschenbovist.
Habitat: fields, gardens, along roadsides, grassy clearings in woods.
Use: edible when young, internal flesh is completely white, not to confuse with immature fruit bodies of poisonous Amanita species. Extracts of the puffball have antimicrobial and antifungal activities against Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, Streptococcus pyogenes, Mycobacterium smegmatis.
Content: sterol derivatives, volatile compounds; the unusual amino acid lycoperdic acid; linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid.
It is a medium-sized puffball with a round fruit body tapering to a wide stalk, ± 4 cm wide, ± 6 cm tall. It is off-white with a top covered in short spiny bumps or "jewels", which are easily rubbed off to leave a netlike pattern on the surface. When mature it becomes brown, and a hole in the top opens to release spores in a burst when the body is compressed by touch or falling raindrops.
The spores have many sharp microscopic spines, which can cause severe irritation of the lung when inhaled.