Photo by John Sutton of his daughter Heather and Calvatia gigantea (= Langermannia gigantea). Way back when!
Many decades ago John brought this puffball into the department and donated it to the mycology herbarium. We had a hard job drying it down but eventually stuck it above the steam pipes in the basement of the Biology building for a few months and it matured and turned cinnamon brown. We put it out on display at regular intervals for the mycology course, that was given three times a year at one time! Unfortunately, there was a great temptation for the students to stick their fingers through the peridium so it began to deteriorate. Eventually we encased it in a clear plastic box to protect it and for display purposes. I retired 15 years ago and I don't think they even teach classical mycology any longer. Pity! The year I retired we had about a hundred students registered for the course but due tolaboratory limitations only took sixty. The glory days of mycology at Guelph.
We weighed John's puffball, took a sample of the spores and capillitium, weighed it, made a suspension and then a dilution series of the spore suspension then calculated the number of spores contained by the puffball. My memry failsme on the final figure we calculated but is was something of the order of 10,000,000,000,000.
I then asked what happened to all the spores for any given giant puffball. The answer is that inmost cases they ALL perish one way or another. Survival (not viability) is kess than one in a trillion. Explain!!!