Gasterocarp (18) 35-40 (50) mm tall x 20-40 (45) mm broad; globose to slightly depressed globose, slightly plicate at the base to a pinched point or entirely globose; rhizomorph a single mycelium thread up to 1 mm thick by 2-10 mm long, breaking off at the soil level, often
mycelium threads remain, becoming completely free and detached from the soil to roll about the landscape; ostiole developing through thinning at the apex with fruitbody expansion as it matures, becoming torn open unevenly as a hole at first, becoming a horizontal or stellate laceration with maturity, older specimens developing radial splitting; sometimes difficult to discern the top from the bottom in very old specimens with multiple holes. Exoperidium up to 5 mm thick; white when young (5A1), becoming cream to orange grey (5B2), yellowish grey (4A2, 4B2-3) when mature, mottled and unevenly colored; thin, sloughing off early in maturation and in patches, remaining partially adherent to the endoperidium, upturned edges of patches rolling up, inward, and peeling away in small sheets, not present in very old specimens; powdery furfuraceous granules found within plicate folds at the base when young. Endoperidium up to 1 mm thick; cream white to yellowish white when young (4A2), metal grey brown (6D3), becoming dark brown (6F5, 7F7), to dark grey brown or black brown (6F3-2), unevenly colored, distinguishable by the metallic copper to bronze hues of the mature fruitbody; parchment-like, rigid, persistent, glabrous, no obvious ornamentation other than plicate folds and dimpled depressions in some specimens. Gleba pale cream (4A2-3) when young, to yellow buff beige (4B3), becoming grayish green yellow (4C7), golden to almost orange yellow (4B6), olive green (4E6), becoming grayish brown
(6E3) to dark brown (6F7) when mature; young tissue turning bright yellow in KOH, mature tissue turning green with KOH; cottony and flexible when mature, spores falling away from the capillitium readily; solid and firm when young, having small compact irregular-shaped chambers under a dissecting scope, maturing from the base upwards. Subgleba absent. Diaphragm absent.
Basidiospores globose to broadly ellipsoidal; (3.2-) 4-5.6 X (-3.2) 4-5.5 µm [xmr = 4.4-4.6 X 4.4-4.7 µm, xmm = 4.6 ± 0.2 X 4.5 ± 0.2 µm, Q = 0.8-1.2, Qmr = 1.0, Qmm = 1.01 ± 0.01, n = 20, s = 10]; dark brown to golden amber brown in water mounts and KOH mounts; glabrous, smooth when immature to roughened verruculose when mature under light microscope, roughened with appressed irregular-shaped knob-like verrucose bumps under SEM; oil drop present; spores thick-walled; pedicel remnant up to 0.8-1 µm long, with clean broken ends, larger spores missing a pedicel; free-floating sterigma sometimes present water mounts; spores mostly of equal size under the light microscope. Eucapillitium Bovista-type, can tease apart individual threads with the naked eye using tweezers; having thin and thick threads up to (6.4) 8-13 (21.5) µm broad with walls up to 2-4.5 (5.5) µm thick, with thin-walled segments out at the tips, thinner walls incrusted with cellular debris; dark brown in water mounts, golden brown in KOH mounts; elastic when young, individual hyphal threads with abundant ramified dichotomous branching from a central thread; older specimens becoming brittle, short fragile branches breaking apart easily when mounted; knob-like projections present; threads mostly straight along thick strands, somewhat sinuous at the tips along thinner walls, heavily incrusted with cellular debris, tips attenuate radically to a short rounded terminus, some ends tapering to a fine point. Pores clustered, very small, round punctate, found on lighter colored threads with thinner walls. Septa rare or absent. Paracapillitium sometimes present, not abundant, and often difficult to find. Exoperidium textura globulosa; composed of thin-walled globose swollen sphaerocyst cells. Endoperidium a combination of textura intricata and textura epidermoidea; composed of tightly
woven thick-walled hyphal units, difficult to discern the cellular composition from the irregular-shaped cells.
Habitat: Often found under Monterey Cypress (Hesperocyparis macrocarpa), on thick duff, fruiting after rains through spring and summer. Growing on soil in and around herbaceous plants, in corrals and ranch fields thick with manure near the coast, also found growing with cheat grass (Bromus tectorum). In higher elevations, this puffball can be found growing in association with Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) duff. Among the Geographic Subdivisions of California, this species is found in Northwestern California, in the Cascade Range, in the Modoc Plateau, in the Great Central Valley, in the Sierra Nevada, and in Central Western California.
Created: 2009-06-10 21:26:41 EDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2014-02-26 12:42:18 EST (-0500)
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