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Giant Puffball Cultivation

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Wed Sep 13 15:50:31 EST 2000

In article <8pner5$lqo$1 at pegasus.csx.cam.ac.uk>,
  "Colin Davidson" <c.davidson at biotech.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
> <truffler1635 at my-deja.com> wrote in message
> news:8pkj77$i0r$1 at nnrp1.deja.com...
> > This is just a thought, Colin. I have never found nor expect to find that
> > variety in my neck of the forest. But I do have some suggestings for
> > growing or attempting to grow them.
> >
> > First of all, carefully note where you found it growing. Can you identify
> > what it was growing from? Was there any nearby rotting organic material?
> > Is it possible to collect some of that material fresh to create a "bed"
> > to grow your puffballs? It may take a year or longer to see anything
> > production, so try to find someplace where you will be looking at the
> > site on a regular basis for the next year at least.
> >
> Ahh, now I've been lucky to find the giant puffball in a couple of different
> locations. Normally it's found on the edges of fields, sometimes also in
> grassy parts of woods. In the same patch I've also found field mushrooms,
> sometimes parasols. This last lot were from a muddy bank next to a lake. It
> seems to like slightly acid pH and fairly stable pasture.
> > Assemble fresh or dried organic debris similar to where you collected the
> > puffball. Create a layer of 2-4 inches of the debris, then water it
> > thoroughly for at least 2 days. (another faster method is to completely
> > submerge it for 72 hours: this nearly sterilizes the medium, and allows
> > you a nearly pure run of mycelium: the growing portion of the puffball)
> >
> > After the bed is established and semi-sterilized material (substrate) is
> > placed, add a slurry of ripe puffball spores in 2 cups of water in a food
> > processor or blender. Blend on high for at least 10 minutes, or until the
> > sporemass is reduced to tiny particles. Pour this slurry (make more by
> > adding more water) over the substrate. Cover with another 2-3 inches of
> > substrate. Cover with a shadecloth that allows water in, but gives some
> > protection from direct sunlight.
> >
> > Now comes the hard part: wait.
> >
> > If giant puffballs only fruit once a year in your area, it may be next
> > year before you see any production. It could even be later. I don't know
> > anyone who has been successful in growing it. But that _doesn't_ mean you
> > should try!
> >
> Hmmm. Haven't come across that method. I'll try that one next time, if the
> current efforts to get it to grow on PDA and MYG fail. Hopefully, if I can
> get it into culture then I'll have an almost inexaustible supply of mycelium
> to play with:)
> I think that I might be able to get some more puffballs this weekend
> (FINGERS CROSSED!). If so, I'll have plenty of material to work with.
> Thanks,
> Colin.
It is perhaps as important to have a source of fresh spores stored away
from direct UV light. Good luck on the agar cultivation, though.

BTW, parasol or Lepiota sps. usually take a compost pile or leave pile to
get established. In my area, Thatcher ants collect tiny Douglas fir twigs
and spend needles to create large mounds of debris, which they then grow
Lepiota rhachoides on. Sometimes a Cordyceps or disease attacks these ant
mounds, and cause the ants to die. Shortly thereafter there are major
fruitings of Lepiota rhacoides!

Daniel B. Wheeler

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