Saturday, 22 September 2012

Puffballs, part II

Continuing with my puffball adventures, we move from the behemoth to the dwarf. These next mushrooms that I'm about to share are VERY small compared to the large puffballs from my last post. I would gauge these little guys to be around 1/50th the size of that huge puffball that was at least as big as my shoe.

At first glance, you might mistake them for a bunch of nuts on the forest floor. Perhaps we have stumbled upon a squirrel's not-so-secret stash of acorns?

Upon closer inspection it becomes apparent, though, that they are stacked a little TOO neatly to be nuts. Indeed these are mushrooms, and as far as I can tell, they fall into the puffball category.

While most were found existing only in large clusters, a few were visible singly or in pairs. I should have put something next to these to give you an idea of their size, but I would describe them as being as large as a cherry tomato. While I cannot claim with much certainty their identity, I am inclined to say these are probably the pear-shaped puffball, Lycoperdon pyriforme, a species that is known for growing in clusters.

Mushrooms may be one of the easiest subjects to photograph in nature. They are photogenic, they don't fly or walk away from you, and rarely do they blow in the wind. A nice stationary subject, not something you come across very often in nature photography!

I hope you've enjoyed this look into the world of puffballs. I will admit that I know very little about mushrooms and fungi, but the more I photograph them, the more my interest becomes piqued. One more item to add to my list of things to learn about!


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