Bovista californica was described from a collection made at Hat Lake in Lassen National Park (Kreisel, 1967). Jarvis (2014) noted that Bovista californica and the European B. limosa are very closely related, based on ITS phylogenetic data and suggested that they may be synonymous, while noting slight morphological differences. More work is needed to see if Bovista californica is a distinct species. We are considering it distinct for this assessment.
A small to tiny puffball with a tuft or pad of basal mycelium, and a tomentose to finely floccose exoperidium that breaks up into pale small scales, giving it a spotted or mottled appearance. Although many California puffballs resemble this species, few are routinely this small. This, along with the often-gregarious growth on the edges of alpine lakes and seeps in meadows, along with microscopic features help distinguish it. Known from nine sites in western North America, six of which are in California.
Known from isolated populations in the Sierra Nevada and San Bernardino Mountains of California, USA, a single site in the Cascade Range in California, Oregon and Washington, and a single location in Wyoming.
Currently known from nine disjunct locations in the mountains of western USA, six of which are in California. Being a rarely reported species, no trends have been observed
Population Trend: Uncertain
Saprotrophic; growing in humus and rich or sandy soil, often on the shores of alpine lakes, riparian zones and seeps in meadows. Often in clusters or groups, rarely solitary, fruiting in summer and early fall.
(These threats are largely conjectural, as little is known about this species). Trampling of lake shorelines near recreation areas is a probable source of habitat degradation for this species. Cattle grazing and hoof damage in and around meadows and seeps is also common and very likely to degrade suitable habitat.
Limit cattle grazing in habitats where it is known to occur.
Targeted surveys for this species. Revisit occurrences of historic populations. Compare with the European Bovista limosa.
Desjardin, D.E., Wood, M. G. and Stevens, F.A. 2015. California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Jarvis, S.S. 2014. The Lycoperdaceae of California. Master’s thesis, San Francisco State University.
Kreisel, H. 1967. Taxonomisch-Pflanzengeographische monographie der Gattung Bovista. Beihefte zur Nova Hedwigia 25: 1–244
Siegel, N., Vellinga, E.C., Schwarz, C., Castellano, M.A. and Ikeda, D. (2019). A Field Guide to the Rare Fungi of California’s National Forests. Bookmobile: Minneapolis, MN. 313 p.