PERM, October 13 (Itar-Tass) —— A 12-kilogram puffball mushroom was found in the forest some 20 kilometers away from the city of Perm near the Ural Mountains, the holder of the chair in botany and plant genetics of the Perm State University told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
A local resident, Vladislav Grabosinsky, found an entire family of giant puffball mushrooms, the biggest one of which weighed 12 kilograms with a cap diameter of 172 centimetres and a height of half a meter.
“Such giant mushrooms are a rare phenomenon, although puffball mushroom may weigh up to 20 kilograms,” said Sergei Ovesnov. “Now there are favourable conditions for the growth of such mushrooms – it is wet and warm.”
According to Ovesnov, such giant mushrooms are edible as long as their interior is white in colour. Such mushrooms are often met in areas covered by broad-leaved trees, such as lindens, maples, oaks, and elms.
Now, the 12-kilogram puffball has been taken to the department of botany of the Perm Pedagogical University. Its future lot is unclear, since, according to Ovesnov, “it is next to impossible to dry it, since a special container, almost an aquarium, is needed.”
A puffball is a member of any of several groups of fungus in the division Dasidiomycota. The distinguishing feature of all puffballs is that they do not have an open cap with spore-bearing gills. Instead, spores are produced internally, in a spheroidal fruiting. As the spores mature, they form a mass called a gleba in the centre of the fruiting body that is often of a distinctive color and texture. The basidiocarp remains closed until after the spores have been released from the basidia. Eventually, it develops an aperture, or dries, becomes brittle, and splits, and the spores escape. The spores of puffballs are statismospores rather than ballistospores, meaning they are not actively shot off the basidium. The fungi are called “puffballs” because clouds of dust-like spores are emitted when the mature fruiting body bursts, or in response to impacts such as those of falling raindrops.