I was pulling out some weeds and must have touched something, because all of a sudden something was coming out of the ground. I thought it was a snake, but then it became like a white and black sphere. Then the black parts poofed one at time and made like small windows. I left it out in the garden and it shriveled up, but I found some more round ones growing out of the ground. I dug those out, and they were rubbery and actually looked like brains. Then they started to do the same as the first one. What was it?

  • Likely Puffball fungus of some sort, picture? May 29 '14 at 5:58
  • 1
    I gotta see this!
    – Evil Elf
    May 29 '14 at 13:04
  • 1
    Can you provide a photo of it at all?
    – Phlume
    May 29 '14 at 17:26
  • Where do you live?
    – stormy
    May 29 '14 at 18:13

I've seen the same thing...it probably is a Sculptured Puffball mushroom or Calbovista subsculpta. Native mushroom in Western forests; Pacific Coast mountain ranges and the Rocky Mountains. Actually a good edible species while the inside is white. Once it matures and the interior darkens it loses its flavor. Nasty but efficient way to spread spores. Amazing puff of black smoke-looking stuff. But totally harmless.

If this is the same thing it should look like a wad of dough, no stem, wider than it is tall...warts? Warts have little brownish hairs coming out of their center...eeeyuuuu!

A note of caution about mushrooms. I took wilderness survival classes and the last thing you should ever eat when lost in the wilderness are mushrooms. They do have nutrition but too few calories to take a risk.

  • 1
    -1 for false statement about mushroom nutrition (30% protein by dry weight, rich in minerals according to the USDA plus unfounded anecdotal fear-mongering - can you please provide evidence for the claim about these large parties? Identifying a morel is as easy as identifying an apple, if you know what to look for. Jun 5 '14 at 4:38
  • 1
    It is very cool! I've contacted the school and will be looking into this myself. I'd never contested the idea and I am a bit ashamed of myself. Thank you, I'll let you know what I find out.
    – stormy
    Jun 6 '14 at 0:14
  • 3
    David, I did a bunch of reading and I think they were (rightfully) trying to scare us survival students from eating mushrooms. There are mycologists who died and/or got very sick from eating mushrooms. I couldn't find the parties they told us about, I thought they were great stories, too. I learned an awful lot more about mushrooms, nutrition, pesticide absorption and allergic reactions. And when survival takes over, our minds are not so clear. I feel it is best not to take the risk. How would I know if I were unfortunate enough to be allergic? Thanks for calling me on this!!
    – stormy
    Jun 6 '14 at 19:41
  • 2
    there are brave mushroom hunters and old mushroom hunters, but no brave, old mushroom hunters. Jun 7 '14 at 0:27
  • Perfect!! I think that is the correct attitude!
    – stormy
    Jun 8 '14 at 0:36

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