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Common Name: Dead Man's Foot, Dyeball
Synonym: Pisolithus tinctorius
Here I present three captures of the same specie.
The top left, shows a young specimen, which is begining to open sporocarp.
In the right shot, you can see a detail of the same mushroom, where the peridioles can be seen.
The left bottom capture, shows a mature specimen, where all the peridoles have turn into spores, although if you are not used to this spore beasts, and you find this one in the forest, you would maybe think it is an animal excrement :)
Believe it or not, my local field guide says that this is edible, used as colorant for sauces. It was also used as tint for textile dying.
Sporocarp 5-20 cm tall, 4-10 cm wide, rounded to lobed, becoming club-shaped, with a sterile, yellowish-brown, fibrous, deeply rooted base; peridium thin, smooth, often shiny, yellowish-brown, dark-brown to purple brown; gleba, of tiny, pebble-sized, white to yellowish-brown, sometimes reddish-brown peridioles (spore sacs) developing in a black gelatinous matrix; at maturity the peridium crumbling apically revealing a mass of cinnamon-brown spores; odor pleasant, of mushrooms.
Spores cinnamon brown, 7-12 µm, globose, spiny.
Solitary to scattered near conifers, in our area Monterey Pine; typically in impoverished soils, or disturbed ground, e.g. roadsides, paths, and dry grassy areas; fruiting in the early fall.
Said to be edible when young.
This puffball is inevitably described as one of the least attractive of all fungi. However, it can be interesting to section immature sporocarps to view the distinctive sac-like peridioles. At maturity, the peridioles breakdown to form the masses of spores which make this fungus unpleasant to collect. While ignored by most amateur collectors, it's worth noting that it finds use in Forestry because of its ability to form mycorrhizae with a variety of conifer seedlings, and by artists, who use it as a source for dyes.
I found this info HERE
Top left: F13 - 1/20 - Manual mode - Tripod
Bottom left: F32 - 0,8 sec - Manual mode - Tripod
Right: F13 - 1/20 - Manual mode - Flash - Tripod
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