You may have seen these giant white mushrooms popping up all over the Hudson Valley this month. So, what's the deal with these frightening fungi?

I was walking around our neighborhood this week when I noticed what I thought were some big white stones in on of my neighbor's yard. I didn't think much about it until I started seeing more of them at other houses. Then, after getting closer to my home I saw what looked like a giant volleyball sitting in another neighbor's front yard.

Curiosity got the best of me, so I went in for a closer look and realized that these huge white things were actually monster mushrooms.

A. Boris

I've lived in my neighborhood for over 20 years, and while we always get some mushrooms popping up in our yard, we've never seen anything like this before. A quick Google search confirmed that these are called "giant puffball" mushrooms. Their scientific name is calvatia gigantea, and they tend to appear in late summer through autumn.

This year's dry conditions, coupled with recent heavy rain must be the perfect conditions for giant puffball mushrooms to grow. This year's bumper crop is simply amazing and like nothing I've ever seen before.

The giant puffball usually grows between four and 20 inches, but can grow to an enormous 60 inches across and weigh up to 20 pounds. The interesting thing about these mushrooms is that they are actually edible. NOTE: I am not a mushroom expert and I would never recommend ever eating any wild mushroom. In some countries, the puffballs are harvested and sold at local markets to be cooked up. There are even recipes for puffball pizza, puffball parmesan and a puffball schnitzel.

I'm going to pass on puffball cuisine but will keep my eyes open for more of these crazy mushrooms growing near my house. As far as fungus goes, this one is pretty cool.