Synops. Meth. Fung. 137. 1801.
Common Name: none
Fruiting body 1.5-3.5 cm broad, globose to slightly compressed, attached to the substrate by a tuft of mycelium; exoperidium white, glabrous, becoming buff to pale-tan and minutely tomentose, sometimes areolate; exoperidium flaking away, or peeling off in sheets, the latter typical of maturation in hot, dry conditions; endoperidium membranous, lead-grey, with or without adhering fragments of exoperidium; spores released via a small apical pore; gleba white, turning dingy yellowish, olive-brown, finally dark-brown, firm-textured; subgleba and sterile base absent.
Spores 5.0-6.5 x 4.0-5.5 µm, ovoid, thick-walled, nearly smooth, with a central oil droplet, and a 7.5-11.5 µm pedicel; capillitium of individual elements, not interwoven, main branches thick-walled, flexuous, rapidly tapering, forking more or less dichotomously, ochre-colored in KOH; pits absent.
Scattered to clustered in disturbed areas, expecially in sparse grass; fruiting throughout the mushroom season; widely distributed.
Edible when young and the gleba white, but too small to be considered for the table.
Bovista plumbea is a small, globose puffball, white when young, greyish in age, attached to the substrate by a tuft of mycelium. It is easily confused with immature Bovista dermoxantha, but the latter is differently colored in age, the endoperidium light-brown to ochre-brown, and is attached to the substrate by a mycelial cord. A third Bovista, B. pila resembles Bovista plumbea in color at maturity, but is larger, has a basal mycelial cord, and releases spores via cracks or tears rather than a apical pore. Of the three, Bovista plumbea is the most widely distributed and the most common.
Bates, S.T. (2004). Arizona members of the Geastraceae and Lycoperdaceae (Basidiomycota, Fungi). Masters Thesis. Arizona State University: Tempe, AZ. 445 p.
Breitenbach, J. & Kränzlin, F. (1986). Fungi of Switzerland. Volume 2: Non-Gilled Fungi. Verlag Mykologia: Luzern, Switzerland. 412 p.
Calonge, F.D. (1998). Flora Mycologica Iberica. Vol. 3. Gasteromycetes, I. Lycoperdales, Nidulariales, Phallales, Sclerodermatales, Tulostomatales. J. Cramer: Berlin, Germany. 271 p.
Coker, W.C. & Couch, J.N. (1974). The Gasteromycetes of the Eastern United States and Canada. Dover Publications, Inc: New York, NY. 201 p.
Ellis, M.B. & Ellis, J.P. (1990). Fungi without Gills (Hymenomycetes and Gasteromycetes). Chapman and Hall: London, England. 329 p.
Jarvis, S.S. (2014). The Lycoperdaceae of California. Masters thesis. San Francisco State University: San Francisco, CA. 336 p.
Kreisel, H. (1967). Taxonomisch-Pflanzengeographische Monographie Der Gattung Bovista. J. Cramer: Lehre. 244 p.
Pegler, D.N., Læssøe, T. & Spooner, B.M. (1995). British Puffballs, Earthstars, and Stinkhorns. Royal Botanic Gardens: Kew, England. 255 p.
Smith, A.H. (1951). Puffballs and Their Allies in Michigan. University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, MI. 131 p.