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Common Puffball

Common puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum)

Other names: gem-studded puffball, warted puffball, devil’s snuff-box, wolf farts

When to see: July – November

The common puffball is widespread and grows in many environments, including gardens, fields, woodland clearings, roadsides, and similar. It is a medium-sized fungus: up to 10cm tall with a fruiting body cap up to 6cm wide. The cap of the cream-coloured fruiting body is covered in small pyramid-shaped warts/spikes.

photo of common puffball on forest floor
Common puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum) [Craigvinean Forest, Scotland Sep 2022]

The fruiting body eventually turns brown as it matures. When mature, a hole forms in the top through which the olive-brown spores escape.

Photo of mature common puffball showing hole in cap
Mature puffball showing hole through which the spores escape [Thrunton Wood Feb 2023]

The spores are frequently released in small puffs/clouds when the fungus is knocked (e.g., by a passing animal), vibrated (e.g., by the wind) or struck (e.g., by raindrops).

Photo of spores being released from a common puffball
Cloud of spores being released from disturbed puffball
Photo of spores being released from a common puffball
Puff of spores continues to distribute over the woodland floor
Photo of spores being released from a common puffball
Ongoing spore distribution


Please be aware that the spores from the common puffball can cause a respiratory disease known as lycoperdonosis. Humans can be affected and, for example, dogs that have been playing/digging near puffballs. For humans to be affected, large amounts of spores need to be inhaled.

I could be wrong

I’m not an expert at identifying fungi – I’m just a hobbyist. So, I may well be wrong about the identity of mushrooms shown here. If you think I’ve misidentified anything then please feel free to get in touch using the Contact Form and I’ll be pleased to update the information. Thanks!

REMEMBER: Unless you are 100% confident that you know what you are doing, NEVER EAT wild mushrooms – many are poisonous and/or can cause severe illness. Look but don’t eat!


Thrunton Wood GPS coordinates: 55°23’0.66″ N 1°54’31.758″ W

Common Puffball (Wild Food UK) [WWW] Accessed 15 February 2023.

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