Q: I have several large, white mushrooms growing on and around my patio. One is the size of a bowling ball, the other near the size of a soccer ball and one larger than a golf ball. They are hard. Has the strange summer weather caused these to sprout?
— Nancy Jackson, Akron
A: Those alien-looking mushrooms are giant puffballs, Calvatia gigantea. They often sprout in early fall after heavy rains, and so do questions about them.
The smooth, white mushrooms are edible when they’re young, if you’re so inclined. But if you want to eat them, you need to pick them while the insides are still uniformly white. Once the insides start to turn yellow or brown, the mushrooms are no longer tasty and might even be toxic.
Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.