This week's blog was written by guest blogger Dustin H. Purcell, MS. Dustin is a Mycologist/Plant Pathologist who studied at the University of Florida.
This is a true fungus (just like other mushrooms, toadstools and puffballs) named Pisolithus tinctorius, and apparently a nice purple to coppery golden brown fabric dye can be made from them, though I confess to have never tye-dyed with this shroom. Like the “dog vomit fungus” discussed in an earlier blog post, it looks like something that might have been left behind by a dog. In more polite company, you might say it looks like a stalked puffball sculpted from chocolate. They range in height from 2 to 6 inches and terminate in a bulbous knob from 1 to 3 inches in diameter. Initially they are covered by a smooth firm skin, but this weathers away to expose and liberate the cocoa-powder-looking spores inside.