Gem-studded puffball mushrooms grow in a wide variety of areas throughout Vancouver Island. The specimens pictured here were growing trailside at the edge of a conifer forest. Unlike the sort of giant puffballs, the gem-studded puffballs are much smaller, tending to be no larger than 3 to 5 cm.
The gem-studded puffballs are rated as a choice edible. I like them fried in butter with a bit of garlic to add more flavor. Beware of poisonous lookalikes such as the young Amanita phalloides, which can resemble a puffball to the untrained eye. It is commonly called the Death Cap because if eaten it will likely kill you! Slice puffballs in half and if they are bright white, they are good to eat, if it has begun to get darker, discard and if you see a shape of a mushroom, then its an amanita and you never should eat one, ever. Eat only those puffballs that are a bright, solid white inside and whose flesh is firm.
There is a reason why this puffball is referred to as the common puffball. It can be found throughout most of the world, including Australia, Japan, North America from Alaska to Central America, Europe, Asia, on and on and on. It is very common on Vancouver Island, both in the forest and in open fields, you can find them quite often in large clusters.