Scientific Name : Pisolithus alba
Family : Sclerodermataceae
Tamil Name : Kallaan
Description : A puffball is a member of any of several groups of fungi in the division Basidiomycota. The puffballs were previously treated as a taxonomic group called the Gasteromycetes or Gasteromycetidae, but they are now known to be a polyphyletic assemblage. The distinguishing feature of all puffballs is that they do not have an open cap with spore-bearing gills. Instead, spores are produced internally. Fruit body in soil is variously sized and shaped. It is yellowish in young stage to brown at the stage of Basidospores dehiscence by rupture. Spores olive green to brown.
Distribution and status: Common fungus in lateritic soil that occurs as a ectomycorrhizal association with Acacia and Eucalyptus
Habitat: Puff ball is a widespread earth-ball like fungus, which may in fact be several closely related species. It is known in Australia as the horse dung fungus and in Europe as the Bohemian truffle.
Habits: While most puffballs are not poisonous, some often look similar to young agarics, especially the deadly Amanitas, such as the death cap or destroying angel mushrooms. None of the stalked puffballs are edible as they are tough and woody mushrooms. This puffball‘s black viscous gel is used as a natural dye for clothes. It is a major component in mycorrhizal fungus mixtures that are used in gardening as powerful root stimulators.
Food : Survives as an association with Acacia and Eucalyptus trees.
Life cycle: It is commonly found in Eucalyptus habitats and when the spores are mature they emerge en masse. When they fall on suitable grounds they grow up to complete the cycle.
Role in the environment: It is symbiotic with Eucalyptus and Acacia sharing nutrients through the root while the tree provides substrate for growth.
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