LYCOPERDON (Calvatia) MAXIMUM
Globose, sometimes somewhat depressed and slightly corrugated toward the base; with diameter ranging from 5 to 50 centimeters. It clings to the ground through a short peduncle, sometimes atrophic and almost unnoticeable. It is wrapped by a double involucre: the outer one, very thick, is first white and velvety; then it becomes rather smooth, with yellowish or brownish coloring; finally it breaks, dividing into many tilelike pieces, which gradually fall. The inner involucre is thin and white; then it becomes grayish, fuliginous, and more and more fragile, until it lacerates irregularly, starting from the top. Flesh initially compact and white; then yellowish and soft; afterward olivaceous, flaccid, and mushy; finally it becomes clotted-pulverulent, dark brown, and comes out from the involucre, like smoke, at every breath of air or when the involucre is squeezed between the fingers. Odor and flavor of the flesh, when still white and unripe, mild and agreeable; when it has become pulverulent, disgusting. Spores tobacco colored. It grows on all sorts of ground, but especially on truck farms and in gardens; sometimes also in the mountains, in the pastures, along the trails, in the sunny clearings of woods. Edible, excellent, when still unripe, both raw in salads, and fried in butter; it cooks in few minutes; the outer involucre should be discarded.