Lycoperdon pyriforme: Morganella pyriformis
Synonym: Lycoperdon pyriforme (Schaeffer: Persoon)
Fruiting body up to 4.5 cm tall, 3.5 cm broad, pyriform to subglobose, usually with a well-developed, pleated sterile base and conspicuous white rhizomorphs; exoperidium when young, cream, pale-tan to ochre-brown, the surface spinulose to minutely warted, (nearly smooth to the unaided eye); with age and exposure, often medium-brown to dark-reddish-brown, the ornamentation then granulose to slightly areolate; exoperidium persistent until senescence; endoperidium membranous, glabrous, pale-tan to ochre-brown; gleba at first white, soft, yellowish to yellowish-olive, at maturity olive-brown; fruiting body dehiscing via a late-forming apical pore; subgleba white, finely-textured, unchanging; odor and taste strongly fungal.
Spores 3.5-4.5 µm, globose, smooth, moderately thick-walled, with a central oil droplet, pedicel absent; capillitium lacking pits; spores medium-brown in deposit.
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; widely distributed and common
Edible when immature and the gleba still white.
Long known as Lycoperdon pyriforme, the change to Morganella pyriformis reflects morphological and molecular evidence that despite appearances, it is not closely related to Lycoperdon. One difference, its preference for lignicolous substrates rather than soil, is a useful fieldmark. Fruitings are frequently clustered on old stumps and logs and have conspicuous rhizomorphs. The species epithet, which means "pear-shaped," should not be taken literally as globose forms occur along with typical fruiting bodies. Color and ornamentation are also variable. Young specimens developing in the shade are usually cream-colored with minute brown warts and spines, while older specimens exposed to drying may be dark-brown to reddish-brown, with a granular ornamentation. 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; Lycoperdon umbrinum is a sooty-brown puffball fruiting solitary to scattered, with a more coarsely textured, grey-brown subgleba at maturity; Lycoperdon molle is a brownish puffball that also fruits scattered or in small groups, and like the previous two species, has a colored, more coarsely textured subgleba.