11.12.12

The wood smokers: Lycoperdon mushrooms

I really love mushrooms.. They’re not plant, neither animals.. but a sort of nice mix of the two.. some of them contains the substance chitin like insects do on their exoskeletons and they’re not photosynthetic while being immobile forms of life… And yes, they can “move”.. or at least, they can disperse their spores around in quite a number of ways. Some of them, the so called “puffball mushrooms” or “snuffbox mushrooms” belonging to the Family Lycoperdaceae are among my preferred. First of all, because when I was a young (Italian) child, I was obviously amused by anything related to corporal wastes… So a mushroom whose italian common name was “wolf’s fart” was at least hilarious to me! Even their Latin names means the same, deriving from two two greek words: lúkos (λύκος) = wolf and pérdomai (πέρδομαι) = to fart.

Why they’re called like this? because their rounded body contains millions of spores that are ready to be “sprayed away” as soon as the dried mushroom is hit by an drop of rain or an animal… making a sort of “psssssst” that to the most pervert people (like the young me… or a mycologist) could recall a fart..
Beside the funny side of the name, I always found this mushrooms quite attractive for this sort of spawning process related to other moving objects and I often give them more than a glance while I’m in a wood.
Here below there’s a small gallery about some of the most common species that I met and of course… photographed!