It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

This is Calostoma lutescens, also known as the lattice puffball fungi, and I'm making a conscious choice to avoid any jokes about its appearance!

The fungi in the photograph are fairly dried out, but when fresh, they have a yellowish color and feature a red dot at the top of the spore case. These mushrooms can be found from Massachusetts to Arkansas, but they're most common in the southern Appalachians.

Lattice puffballs are "mycorrhizal" with oak trees. This means that the fungi have a mutually beneficial relationship with oak trees. The fungi's mycelium (basically the mushroom equivalent of roots) surround the roots of the oak with a protective sheath; this helps the tree absorb water and nutrients, while the tree provides the mushroom with sugars and amino acids.

While I don't recommend eating any wild mushrooms unless you're an expert at identifying them, I'll mention that this species is generally considered inedible. While the fruiting bodies aren't poisonous, they're tough and unpalatable.

Thank you to Dr. Kal Ivanov for the ID!

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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