|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
Ecology: ectomycorrhizal with oaks, along the edges of roads and paths, and so on; spring through fall; eastern North America, Texas, and perhaps in the Southwest; apparently more common at higher elevations within its range.
Fruiting body: At first appearing like a raised gelatinous egg or lump, with a translucent outer layer and a red inner layer; later appearing like a smooth or dusted pinkish to red balloon with a central pore, raised on a shaggy reddish to reddish brown stem that is surrounded by the deciduous, gelatinous material (often containing reddish chunks, as in the illustration); finally appearing like a pinkish to reddish, perforated balloon about 2 cm across, atop a shaggy or even coarsely reticulate stem that is 2-4 cm long and 1-2 cm thick. The spore mass within the ball is white, becoming buff or yellowish at maturity.
This stalked puffball begins development within a gelatinous transparent exoperidium which is soon disrupted by the developing spore sac, exposing a red inner part of the exoperidium. Eventually this too falls away revealing the mature endoperidium with five (usually) cinnabar red, raised ridges at the center of which an ostiole develops for spore dispersal. Widespread in the eastern USA south through Costa Rica to Colombia.
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