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Giant Puffball mushrooms information and pictures

Updated on July 12, 2014

The Giant Puffball is hard to miss!

Photographs by Faye Mitchell
Photographs by Faye Mitchell

Giant Puffball

Kingdom: Fungi

Division: Basidiomycota

Class: Agaricomycetes

Order: Agaricales

Family: Lycoperdaceae

Genus: Calvatia

Species: C. gigantean

Binomial name: Calvatia gigantean

Puffballs are edible

When puffballs first appear the flesh is white and very firm (no gills and no stem) You can eat them as long as they are pure white and firm -- if there are brown bits and it is not firm then do not eat it.

The flavor is very bland so many mushroom lovers dismiss them, however because they are bland it can be used in many different dishes. You can give it any flavor you want. You can cut it into chunks, slices or strips and use it in anything from stir frys to casseroles.

If you cannot use all the puffball do not try to save it.

Be careful with the smaller varieties of puffballs making sure the flesh is firm with no stem and no gills.


In the button stage; field mushrooms, puffballs and Death Caps look very similar.

The pictures below are of the field mushroom (I think )-- You should never ever eat field mushrooms you find unless you are a seasoned expert because if you are wrong and mistake the death cap for a field mushroom it would be your last mistake. Even experts have been known to die when the death cap has gotten mixed into a bunch of field mushrooms.

Puffballs are quite unique. They are white and when they first appear the texture is dense and there is no stem or gills.

Field mushroom

Puffballs do not have gills as seen here

Puffballs do not have stems as seen here


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    • daughterson profile image

      Faye Mitchell 6 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Jeannie, I think it is a field mushroom but I am not sure -- I would never eat one because they look so similar to poison ones -- especially in the button phase.

    • profile image

      Jeannie 6 years ago


      Do you know what kind of mushroom you have there, the one with the gills?

    • daughterson profile image

      Faye Mitchell 6 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Thank you for your comments Jill Lyons. Puffballs are safe to eat -- fry them in butter or bacon grease. I am concerned that you say they are brownish in color -- if they are puffballs and brownish in color they are probably too old to eat. Puffballs at white, bright white, not brownish. They are solid all the way through. I cannot advise you to eat them -- I can only say that if they are puffballs and if they are fresh and white all the way through and no bugs in them then you can eat them. I cannot say that what you have is a puffball -- a fresh puff ball is not brownish.

    • profile image

      Jill Lyons 6 years ago

      We found in the neighbors l large and 2 small round things that I would call puffballs, very solid and sort of a brownish color. The largest is about 8" across. Are they safe to eat and how do I fix them.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

      Hi, this is fascinating, the reason why I chose this hub was because I was walking through the fields the other day, well, a few weeks ago now, doesn't time fly? lol and I came across a lot of mushrooms etc, and I had no idea which was which! so this is great thanks, cheers nell

    • profile image

      Daughterson 7 years ago

      Jack -- thanks for your comment. No, they won't kill you. They are edible if fresh and the flesh is white

    • profile image

      jack 7 years ago

      can puffballs kill u.

    • profile image

      Licking County Ohio 7 years ago

      We have two very large white ball mushrooms in our yard, I'm not sure if they are ok to eat, but would like to send photos of them somewhere to find out. We love mushrooms, but treasure our lives :)

    • daughterson profile image

      Faye Mitchell 7 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Thanks mia.

    • profile image

      mia 7 years ago