Battarrea phalloides (Dicks.) Pers.
Source: Index Fungorum
Family: Agaricaceae
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Robert Chapman  
Pegler DN, Laessoe T, Spooner BM. 1995. British Puffballs Earthstars and Stinkhorns. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Battarraea phalloides (Dicks.: Pers.) Pers., Synops. Meth. Fung.: 129 (1801). - Lycoperdon phalloides Dicks., Fasc. pl. crypt. brit. 1: 24 (1785).

Selected descriptions: Cooke (1871: 367); Lefevre (1982: 7-8); Pacioni (1983: 93); Perreau (1986: 1-3); Richter & Miller (1983: 61-63).

Selected illustrations: Bon (1987: p. 301); Cetto (1984: pl. 1637); Cetto (1988: 378); Cooke (1871: fig. 111); Lefevre (1982: 8-9); Moravec ((1958b: fig. 231); Mornand (1989: fig. 15); Pacioni (1983: 96); Perreau (1986: pl. 245); Phillips (1981: 250); Ramsbottom (1953: pl. 39b); Richter & Muller (1983: abb. 1).

Diagnostic characters: volva present, gelatinous; stem tall, hard, scaly; receptacle pendant; spirally thickened elaters.

Fruitbody egg 3-4 cm diam., ovoid, whitish at first, becoming brown, buried in soil; peridium 2-layered. Exoperidium gelatinous. Endoperidium with circumscissile dehiscence. Stipe at first with a gelatinous coat, soon dry, becoming hollow, 9-30 (-37) cm high, 6-20 mm diam., pale brown to brown or greyish brown, surface fibrous-scaly, often shaggy. Receptacle pendant, convex to hemispherical, bearing the gleba. Gleba exposed by shedding of peridial cap.

Pseudocapillitium of mostly thin-walled, hyaline hyphae and elaters. Elaters hyaline, cylindric, tapered, sometimes branched, walls with conspicuous, refractive, spiral thickenings. Basidia not seen. Basidiospores (4.5-) 5-6 (-6.5) µm diam. excluding ornament, 5-6.5 (-7) µm diam. including ornament, yellowish or yellow-brown, densely verruculose, verruculae commonly coalescing to form anastomosing ridges.

Habitat: on dry, usually sandy soil in various places, sometimes associated with ash (Fraxinus), yew (Taxus) or pine (Pinus).

Distribution and frequency: very rare, known mainly from southern and eastern England. It was first collected, though in poor condition, by W. Humphrey at Bungay, Suffolk in 1782. Further material was collected by Woodward early in 1783 and published the following year (Woodward 1784). During the succeeding century this species was collected elsewhere in Suffolk and from a few localities in Norfolk, Cheshire, Surrey, Bucks and Kent. It was collected near Gloucester in 1915, and British collections to that date are summarized by Ramsbottom (1916 a, b; 1953). Since then, a few further collections have been made from Suffolk, Surrey, Kent, Avon, and Jersey. The most recent collection, in September 1975, was from the same area as the type gathering at Bungay, Suffolk. It is scarce in Europe. The species is reported also from North America, Africa and Australia, but records often include B. stevenii (Libosch) Fr. and are difficult to assess.

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