Posted on April 24, 2016 Posted by John Scalzi 30 Comments
I’m occasionally reminded that I don’t know the name of every plant around my house. This is an example: I call this one the “puffball shrub,” because, well, here’s a puffball. I’m sure someone has told me what kind of plant this is. It’s just that the information rolled out of my head after they told me. Nevertheless, it is pretty. So here you go. Have a puffball.
That’s a viburnum of some sort.
Looks more like a popcorn ball.
Viburnam, agreed. Viburnam’s flowers always remind me of the shape of lilac flowers, but the total package is a different shape.
Is there a scent?
Definitely viburnum. I have the cultivar Korean Spice looking like that in my yard right now too. Smells nice.
I have one of these- it’s called a “Korean Spicebush’ and it IS a virburnam. It should have a lovely scent.
Laugh it up, puffball!
Awesome pic & comical as well!
This is a viburnum. If it smells really sweet and a little spicy, perfuming the air for yards around it, it’s most likely a Korean Spice Viburnum. But puffball works too. Enjoy! ;D
The thing I grew up calling a puffball is a very large fungus with a very fragile shell. When you break the shell the spores puff all over,
killing anyone withinwhich is somewhat dangerous to people with asthma and fungus allergies. I remember it being evil-smelling, but it’s been 40 years since I smelled one.
I bet it’d be great in a burrito.
We call them snowball bushes here in the south. Garden shops even market them as “snowball viburnums.” They are, alas, sometimes the only snow we see all year.
Viburnum carlesii, otherwise known as Korean spicebush.Smells gorgeous — the one on the corner of my drive is flowering full tilt at the moment. Doesn’t last long but lifts my heart to see it return every spring.
Plant IDs… there’s flowers with colours, and green plants. What more need one know?
I don’t recall puffballs smelling of anything much, but the dried powder is useful for making dragons. Put some in a peashooter (do peashooters still exist?) and blow it across a match flame, and you get a dragon’s breath. Not, admittedly, the entire dragon, but it’s a start.
The puffball, before it is mature enough to puff out its spores, is not-unpleasant smelling, and can be sliced and fried in butter and eaten. It is delicious in the sense that anything fried in butter is delicious, not because it has much flavor of its own. A datum (I’ve eaten it and I am not dead yet) suggests it is not poisonous.
‘You must send for the bush-master of this House. And he will tell you that he did not know that the bush you desire had any virtues, but that it is called puffball by the vulgar, and Korean Spice Viburnum by the noble, and after adding a few half-forgotten rhymes that he does not understand, he will regretfully inform you that there is none in the House, and he will leave you to reflect on the history of tongues.’
We called them snowball bushes when I was a kid, and we had 2 in our tiny backyard, and we used to tear them off and have “snowball fights.” Which I don’t think made our parents very happy (or the bushes, when I think about it), but there you go.
It rather looks like one of those amazing sweets described in the Harry Potter books. Those are… Powdered Petal Puffs, that envelop you in a cloud of confectionary sugar for a moment when you bite into them.
Those sound excellent but I cannot find any other reference to them by that name: do you have a source?
Phil – no, I don’t. I made that up, to match the HP sweets :)
Around here, what we called “Snowball Bushes” were Hydrangeas, which have large balls of not-very-scented flowers of various colors, including blue. Viburnums are pretty nice bushes, which often have clusters of strongly-scented flowers, usually white. The viburnums I know usually have flattish flower clusters, but I guess they may have snowballs as well. So much for common names!
>> The thing I grew up calling a puffball is a very large fungus …
> sliced and fried in butter and eaten.
Tasty also when fried in the bacon grease saved from breakfast.
Along with turnip greens or beet greens.
Think of it as nature’s tofu and you won’t be far off.
Iocane flower! I bet my life on it.
We have trees we call “bird-plum trees” in our backyard. I’d love to know the name, but haven’t a clue what it is. The leaves a maroon-red, the bark is brown, the fruits are cherry-sized with maroon-to-almost-purple (when ripe) skin and yellow flesh. All kinds of birds seem to love them, especially the blackbirds & sparrows. It’s deciduous and I’d say not native to Australia (where I’m from).
My neighbors had one of those when I was growing up. I used to stand under it and shake the branches and get covered in loose petals.
I’ve got the same bush in my backyard. Was mowing the grass under it last night and the scent is quite powerful, but very sweet…….
I don’t know the scientific name…it seems others in this thread do, but my parents have one in full bloom in their yard in Virginia. My mom calls them Snowballs. That’s what they look like from afar. Very pretty.