"puffball" fungi

Paul Zambino paulz at PUCCINI.CRL.UMN.EDU
Fri Sep 29 17:21:36 EST 1995

>Does anyone have any comment on the theory that "puffball" fungi
>spread their spores by the action of raindrops striking them
>and forcing the spores out of the hole at the top?
>Is this really a likely mechanism?  Is the action of wind a more
>likely mechanism?
>Dr Julian O'Dea
>jodea at mailhost.dpie.gov.au

I can't vouch for the effectiveness of the action in nature, but I remember
seeing a very effective classroom demonstration of this mechanism.  An
occasional drop of water falling from about 5 ft. was directed so as to
strike the side of a dry Lycoperdon basidiocarp.  Quite a cloud of spores
was produced.  Of course, this genus releases spores through a pore on top
of the basidiocarp.  Other genera, such as Calvatia, disintegrate more
thorougly and probably could get by with dispersal strictly by wind,
although even there I think that rain splash could cause wind currents to
kick the spores above the ground for easier dissemination.

Dr. Paul Zambino
USDA Forest Service
Forestry Sciences Lab
5985 Highway K
Rhinelander, WI 54501
FAX: (715)362-1166
EMAIL: paulz at puccini.crl.umn.edu

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