Scientific Name: Lycoperdon perlatum
Tamil Name: Pandhu Kaalan
Description:. It is a medium-sized puffball with a round fruit body tapering to a wide stalk, and dimensions. It is off-white with a top covered in short spiny bumps or jewels which are easily rubbed off to leave a netlike pattern on the surface. When mature it becomes brown, and a hole in the top opens to release spores in a burst when the body is compressed by touch or falling raindrops. When these pores fall on a suitable habitat they grow to fulfill the cycle.
Habitat and distribution: A widespread species with a cosmopolitan distribution. The puffball grows in fields, gardens, and along roadsides, as well as in grassy clearings in woods. It is edible when young and the internal flesh is completely white, although care must be taken to avoid confusion with immature fruit bodies of poisonous Amanita species.
Note: Lycoderma perlatum can usually be distinguished from other similar puffballs by differences in surface texture. Several chemical compounds have been isolated and identified from the fruit bodies of L. perlatum.
Photo source: Dr. J. Subramanean