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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Battarreaceae of the PNW (Stalked Puffballs)
by Danny Miller

Click here for my Pictorial Key to the Stalked Puffballs


Puffballs on a stick form their own family. While many gastroid mushrooms evolved in dry climates as a response to lack of too little moisture and too much sun, most eventually found their way into temperate climates. The stalked puffballs, for some reason, are still mostly found in dry desert climates.

Tulostoma - your typical puffball on a stick, opening up a pore on top of the spore case to release the spores. The spore case attaches to the stem with a ball-and-socket joint. The bottom of the stem has a mycelial bulb that might resemble a volva.

Chlamydopus - this genus has a volva at the bottom of the stem, as the mushroom hatches out of an underground universal veil "egg" like Amanita, and may also have universal veil warts on top of the spore case. It may also form a pore at the top to release the spores.

Battarrea - also hatches out of an underground "egg", leaving a volva, but this genus does not have warts on the spore case, only the occasional volval patch. Half of the spore case eventually breaks off making this genus look like a hollow hemisphere on a stick (there is no pore opening). The stem is shaggy and wood-like and brown, and the spore case starts out white but soon is covered in rusty spores.

Phellorina - without a well differentiated stem, this is a shaggy/scaly white cylinder that usually tapers towards the bottom.

abundant common uncommon rare - colour codes match my Pictorial Key and are my opinions and probably reflect my bias of living in W WA. Rare species may be locally common in certain places at certain times.

Stalked Puffballs


Tulostoma sp. - thirty one species have been reported from the PNW, mostly from the deserts of Idaho. For a complete list, see MycoMatch. Sorting them all out is beyond the scope of this page at present. I will cover only those with known local connections.

Tulostoma stuntzii WA - very small, only about 1 cm tall. It was described from WA so definitely occurs here, whatever it is. No DNA yet.

Tulostoma fimbriatum EU - has a brown stem up to 10 cm tall and a pale spore sac. A type sequence of the type variety from Europe matches an ITS2 type sequence of var. campestre from NB almost exactly, but we can't compare ITS1. Our one BC collection sequences 4 bp different in ITS1 but identical in ITS2 from the type variety. I don't know what variety to call it, so for now I will just call it T. fimbriatum. Four varieties/forms are reported from the PNW.

Tulostoma PNW01 - seems to be entirely white. It was sequenced once from OR, not matching any reliable sequences of any known species.

Twenty eight more species are reported.

unsequenced Tulostoma fimbriatum var. campestre © A and O Ceska,     Tulostoma PNW01 © Mike Potts


Chlamydopus cf meyenianus EU - reported from the PNW but we need local collections. We have one sequence purporting to be this, perhaps from the EU, but nothing reliable.

unsequenced Chlamydopus cf meyenianus © Lorelei Norvell


Battarrea PNW01 - Battarrea phalloides UK and Battarrea stevenii EU, thought to be synonyms, not only aren't synonyms but there are multiple species going by that name in the EU alone never mind worldwide. This species has been collected once in OR under a Sequoia in Eugene.

Battarrea PNW02 - sequenced once from Seattle. We need more Battarrea collections to see how many species we have and then we need to figure out how to tell them apart and give them names.

Battarrea PNW01 © Bitty Roy (2 images),     Battarrea PNW02 © Joe Ammirati


Phellorina cf herculeana EU - reported from Owyhee where OR and ID intersect with NV. We have no local DNA yet, and a couple of purported EU sequences do not agree with each other, so this needs further study.

Phellorina cf herculeana © Georgie Sharp


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