Puffballs

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

puffballs edible fungi of Europe and N. America and temperate zones generally in both northern and southern hemispheres. They range in size from tiny ‘buttons’ to the huge Calvatia gigantea, which is commonly the size of a football or human head, and may look alarmingly like a discarded skull (tête de mort is one French name for it). It has been known to reach even larger sizes. In the USA specimens are sometimes found measuring 61 cm (2') across and weighing about 18 kg (40 lb): the record is held by a puffball discovered in New York state in 1877, which had a circumference of 15' 6".