Early this autumn, we found this in our yard. What is it?
This is a type of mushroom called a puffball. Some species can grow larger than a basketball. They are called puffballs because as they mature, the inside is filled with tiny spores. When something bumps the mature puffball, the outside breaks, and a cloud of spores puffs out. The spores are carried away by wind, and if they settle in the right spot, they grow into a new puffball fungus.