Calvatia, Bovista, Vascellum, Lycoperdon
Normally if the puffball is pure white inside it is safe to eat the exceptions being Scleroderma which is mildly poisonous , you should also avoid any puffballs that release a phenolic smell while cooking. I find that a nice large puffball will absorb the flavours you are cooking.
Note edible puffballs will turn brown over time so if this happens please discard.
As we are generalising puff balls we can say that they will grow in a number of locations, from open grassland, woodland, road verges, and golf courses. Puffballs as a general rule like alkaline soils.
Note: Turfed lawns and sports fields usually have a spraying program so you need to be conscious of this before picking.
If we just look at the meaning of only the Lycoperdon genus.
The name comes from lycos meaning wolf and perdon meaning to break wind. So WOLF FART!
Puffballs are a great fungi for beginners would would like to try different fungi but who are wary of picking the wrong thing and getting sick or even worse! Once cut this mushroom will be light and fluffy inside resembling a marshmallow. You can see this quite clearly in the photo cross section.
Size can range greatly from 2cm-15cm in diameter.
Shape can range from globule to round.
Outer skin can be smooth or shave short soft spines or conical type warts. (See Puffballs Lycoperdon sp above)
Colour from a white to a light brown.
Scleroderma species are an earth ball and not a puff ball however they can on occasion be white inside but will always have a thick yellow skin , hence the name Sclero meaning hardening and derma meaning skin.
please use this reference as a tool for identification only and never eat any mushroom unless you do your own research and you are 100% sure.
Remember if in doubt leave it out!