Steph Jarvis’s Description of Lycoperdon curtisii Berk.

Title: Monograph Of The Lycoperdaceae Of California By Steph Jarvis (Default)
Name: Lycoperdon curtisii Berk.
View: public
Edit: private
Version: 5
Previous Version 

Descriptions: Create
 Monograph Of The Lycoperdaceae Of California By Steph Jarvis (Default)

Description status: Unreviewed
 (Latest review: 2019-10-31 09:43:08 CDT (-0500) by jason)

General Description:

Lycoperdon curtisii Berk., Grevillea 2(16): 50. 1873.
Reported synonym:
   = Vascellum curtisii (Berk.) Kreisel, Feddes Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 68: 86. 1963.

TYPE—According to the curators at Kew, there are three type collections, two being syntypes according to the protologue, Grevillea 2(16): 50 1873; distributed as part of North American Fungi Exsiccata, no. 333. The first syntype was collected in Connecticut by C. Wright, (K(M) 189271, Wright No. 5613). The second is from North Carolina, collected by M.A. Curtis, (K(M) 189272, Curtis No. 558), although Berkeley notes on the specimen sheet that 5613 = 558.. The third is collected from North Carolina by M.A. Curtis, (K (M)189273, Curtis No. 2195). Collections dates are not noted and therefore unavailable.

Diagnostic Description:

GASTEROCARP 5-20 mm tall x 5-20 mm wide; globose, or subglobose to ovate; rhizomorph composed of a tuft of branching mycelium at the base of the gasterocarp; ostiole slow to develop through stretching of the apex as the fruitbody expands with maturation, opening as a slit-like crack, developing into a round opening that exposes the gleba. Exoperidium white to yellow white (5A1-2) when young, becoming light beige yellow to yellow grey (4A3-4B2), remaining light in color through maturation; covered in minute echinae or sharply pointed spines, crowded, fused at the tips, sharply pointed, tips becoming appressed with age, tips darkening to brown or dark brown (6E7-6F7), fine white granular material present between spines; spines sloughing away at the apex initially, completely sloughing away through maturation, not leaving scars on the endoperidium, powdery-like granular coating remaining in old age. Endoperidium white when young to yellowish grey (5A1-2), becoming light yellowish brown (5D5); persistent and parchment-like when old, remaining mostly attached to the exoperidium. Gleba white and firm when young, becoming brownish orange (5C4-7), olive brown to dark brown (4F5-6F7) when mature; mixed-type, cottony in texture when young to powdery in old age. Subgleba grayish brown (8E3) to purple grey (14E3) metallic tinted when mature; mixed-type, chambered, compact, present only at the very base of the fruitbody, umbonate to convex or slightly radiating up into the gleba in center base of the subgleba. Diaphragm well defined, composed of compressed subgleba cells, becoming tough and skin-like, separating the gleba from the chambered subgleba.

BASIDIOSPORES globose to subglobose; 2.5-4 X 3-4 µm [xmr = 2.6-3.6 X 3.3-3.4 µm, xmm = 3.0 ± 0.6 X 3.4 ± 0.1 µm, Q = 0.7 – 1.3, Qmr = 0.8-1.1, Qmm = 0.9 ± 0.2, n = 25, s = 3]; chocolate brown in wet mounts, turning dark olive green in KOH; minutely spiny to punctate and heavily ornamented under light microscopy, SEM spores echinulate with tall pointed echinae connected by chord-like bridges; central oil droplet present; spores thick-walled; pedicels rudimentary, < 0.8 µm or absent under light microscopy, seen with SEM as short blunt pedicels with clean broken ends; free-floating sterigmata absent from wet mounts; spores of equal size under light microscopy. Eucapillitium Lycoperdon-type; threads 3-7 µm broad with walls up to 0.8 µm thick; mostly colorless in wet mounts, slight yellow tint in KOH; elastic; incrusted with cellular debris, dichotomously branching, mostly straight, without knob-like projections, not attenuate with a blunt round terminus; restricted to the periphery of the gleba along the inside of the endoperidium wall, not abundant, absent from very mature fruitbodies. Pores absent. Septa absent. Paracapillitium abundant throughout the gleba, dominant form of capillitial threads; thin-walled, hyaline, septate, pores absent, incrusted with cellular debris. Diaphragm composed of compact, globose, randomly aligned cells. Exoperidium textura globulosa; composed of sphaerocyst cells, inflated, long, thin-walled, hyaline, septate, and in linked chains. Endoperidium textura intricata; composed of interwoven hyphal threads.


DISTRIBUTION—Known from many parts of the United States, and previously reported from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Also known from Canada, Bahamas, Bermuda, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Sweden, and Vieux-Fort on the island of St. Lucia.

MATERIAL EXAMINED—CALIFORNIA, Sonoma Co.: Windsor, terrestrial in lawn near a creek, 08 June 2008, D. Deshazer (SSJ 247); Freestone, SOMA camp, CYO Catholic Charities camp, Bohemian Highway, in grass along baseball field, January 2012, D. Deshazer (SSJ 400). Yolo Co.: Sacramento, in lawn, 9 September 1937, E.E. Morse (UCB589747)(UC). Yuba Co.: Marysville, terrestrial in a field, 21 February 2009, R. Hopson (SSJ 474).


HABITAT—Growing in caespitose clusters and gregarious groups, often forming odd shapes as the fruitbodies grow around and into each other, often two to three fruitbodies fused together. Growing in irrigated lawns, shaded areas, on soil, and in conifer duff. Among the Geographic Subdivisions of California, this species is known from Northwestern California, the Great Central Valley, and the grassy lowlands of the Sierra Nevada.


The Lycoperdaceae of California, Thesis by Steph Jarvis

For images, light microscopy & Scanning Electron Microscopy:

Additional References:


COMMENTS—Lycoperdon curtisii Berk. was once distinguished as Vascellum curtisii (Berk.) Kreisel, due to Smarda’s Vascellum distinction of a paper-like diaphragm separating the gleba from the subgleba. Among the distinctive characters defining species within Vascellum, Kreisel added eucapillitium being replaced by a dominance of paracapillitium within the gleba tissue, and a reduced pseudocolumella (Kreisel 1963, Larsson 2008). This North American species, Lycoperdon curtisii, has been considered identical to European collections of Vascellum pratense (Pers.) Kreisel by Hollós, except that V. curtisii has a thinner diaphragm, a smaller subgleba, and is overall reduced in size (Kreisel 1963, Ponce de Leon 1970). However, there are many features that distinguish these two species as being different. For one, the spore ornamentation seen with SEM is remarkably different between Lycoperdon curtisii and L. pratense, not to mention the slight difference in spore size, and the striking difference in overall size. In addition, the type for the genus Vascellum, V. depressum (Bonord.) F. Šmarda, has been accepted as a synonym of Lycoperdon pratense Pers. (Larsson 2008). This transfer reduces the genus Vascellum to synonymy with Lycoperdon.

The ML tree produced in this analysis shows Vascellum species (now in Lycoperdon) as a monophyletic clade within the Lycoperdon clade, with 92% bootstrap and 100% PP. In support of the claims above, Vascellum curtisii is placed within this Vascellum clade, and shows that it is distinct from Lycoperdon pratense. Two California specimens identified as Lycoperdon curtisii (SSJ 247, and SSJ 400) are distinct from two GenBank sequences identified as Vascellum curtisii (HQ235048, and HQ235043), representing material from both NC and HI, respectively. This suggests that additional analysis on many specimens from multiple locations coupled with multi loci gene analysis will be necessary to further clarify the taxonomic position of Lycoperdon curtisii within the Lycoperdaceae and better understand the nature of this puffball.

Lycoperdon Pers., Ann. Bot. (Usteri) 1: 4. 1794.
TYPE—Lycoperdon perlatum Pers., Observ. mycol. (Lipsiae) 1: 145. 1796.

Currently the largest genus in the Lycoperdaceae, Lycoperdon was circumscribed by Persoon in 1794, published in Annalen der Botanik ed. Usteri, Zurich. However, the genus predates this publication to the 1753 publication, Species Plantarum, by Carl Linnaeus, when it was a mix of organisms, including anything with a globose fruitbody (Demoulin 1973a, Bates 2004). Further contributions to Lycoperdon have been made by Cunningham (1942, 1979), Kreisel (1973), Demoulin (1972b, 1983), Jeppson (1984, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012), Larsson and Jeppson (2008), and Pegler (1995), and others.

Lycoperdon is characterized by a fruitbody having a single apical pore, hyphae without clamps, and eucapillitium that are branched without having tapered tips. The eucapillitium is categorized as Lycoperdon-type, which means that the threads are mostly elastic, with very little dichotomous branching, poroid, and with variable thickness. As with most of the puffballs, Lycoperdon is a cosmopolitan genus. Several studies available, which describe the development and histology of fruitifications of Lycoperdon, such as; Rabinowitsch 1894, Swartz 1933, Ritchie 1948, Marchant 1969, and the book by Smith et al. 1981.

The genus currently has 441 species that have been recorded in Index Fungorum, 790 including all varieties. Lycoperdon is the type genus of the Lycoperdaceae, and Lycoperdon perlatum is the type species for the genus. There are twelve species reported in California: L. dermoxanthum, L. curtisii, L. molle, L. lloydianum, L. nigrescens, L. perlatum, L. pratense, L. pyriforme, L. subcretaceum, L. umbrinum, L. utriforme, and the provisional new species L. vernimontanum.

Description author: Steph Jarvis (Request Authorship Credit)
Description editor: Jason Hollinger