I headed out for the enchanted mushroom forest this morning, along with my buddies Memphis and Ellie Mae. I didn’t find a lot of mushrooms today though.

This is a meager sample of Hypsizygus ulmarius, the so-called Elm Oyster. I say so-called because in Ontario, I’ve only found them on maple trees. I expected to find some better samples for dinner, but nope, this was it.

These are Lycoperdon pyriforme, the Pear-shaped puffball, known in some circles as the “wolf-fart” puffball. These are edibles. The ones in this photo are in various stages of maturity. I should have taken more photos, including close-ups. You can see though, that some of them are a dun colour. These are already in full maturity. If you plan to eat these, pick only the immature ones that are all white. Everywhere you read about the little puffballs, you’ll find a warning to cut them in half to be sure they are in fact puffballs and not immature poisonous amanitas. Never mind that you won’t find amanitas growing on a dead tree – I always take that precaution because the cost of eating deadly amanitas is way too high. In another area of the forest, I found number of samples of another variety of small puffball, known as the gem-studded puffball, Lycoperdon perlatum.

In just one spot near the trail, I came across a bunch of Aborted Entoloma at the base of a stump. These are edibles, and I can say that they’re pretty good. However, they are just so strange, I don’t find them all that appetizing. I expected to also find loads of honey mushrooms nearby, but only found a few.

We enjoyed a great hike on some excellent trails through a forest that has a great deal of variety. And as a bonus for the dogs, we hiked to a big pool in the river where they had a lengthy swim.


I observed many puffballs on my trip. There are several varieties of small puffballs in our area, and I’m not an expert on telling them apart but my best assessment is that I saw Lycoperdon pyriforme – the Pear-shaped Puffball; and Lycoperdon perlatum – the Gem-Studded Puffball; I may have also observed Scleroderma otrinum – Earthballs. There may have been others.

It seems that everywhere I went I saw puffballs. There were even plenty of them appearing on the grass around the cabin at which I stayed. I collected about a dozen young, pure white pear-shaped puffballs to try in an omelette.

Many of the small puffballs are edible. The single biggest mistake to avoid is mistaking Amanita buttons for puffballs. A young amanita button looks kind of like an inverted pear-shaped puffball. Even though I was certain of what I picked, still I sliced each one in half to ensure I was looking at a solid white mass of puffball and nothing that looked like it could be a developing mushroom under a veil.

The best way I can describe them as food is to say that they are like adding tofu to a stir-fry. Is it good? Well, it adds something. It picks up flavours around it. Puffballs are similar. They’re mild and they more or less mind their own business. I wouldn’t go out of my way to pick a bunch but on the other hand, if I stumbled across some nice fresh ones in the woods, and I had plenty of room in my basket, I wouldn’t hesitate to collect a bunch.