Nature Blog Network

Sunday, November 8, 2009

All Puffed Up

Puffballs? Are some pretty darn awesome fungi. On Friday, we went to Hart's Woods challenge course, which is nicely wooded with some old oaks and lots of rotting logs... Anyhow, my groups instructor told the kids in my group (which had named itself Team Awesome, btw) that the word "awesome" was overused and that they could not use that word to answer questions about how the team did. Awesome, really, means awe-inspiring. He told them tidal waves are awesome. Standing balanced on a see-saw with your classmates, really, could be described more accurately with other words. It is with this in mind that I call the puffballs awesome.
They look plain and unassuming. (They do get quite a bit larger than this one...) They're pretty boring most of the time. And then they split open.
Touch them even lightly and a cloud of spores wafts out, looking like brown smoke around a witch's cauldron. (It is very hard to photograph this...) And there seems to be an endless supply of spores inside. I watched a bunch of 7th graders, who are at the age when they're too cool for everything, go from "whatever" to literally pushing me out of the way so they could look at the plain beige mushrooms. Anything that has that power must really be awesome.
Here is is after 7th graders discovered it...
This one is just about done spilling its guts (it's a different one, I promise).

1 comment:

  1. I love your "awesome" story. I agree that it is over-used, but I think that the puffball certainly deserves that description. My uncle had a good patch of giant puffballs in his yard and he would cook them up with butter. They were very good. Reminded me of scallops.

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