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Common earthball

Scleroderma citrinum


The rounded fruitbody is stemless and attached to the ground by white mycelial threads, typically 4 to 10 cm across and 3 to 6 cm tall. The tough thick skin of the earthball is initially white, cream or yellow and may turn ochre-brown or green as it ages. It is covered by a network of coarse scales of irregular shapes and variable size. Inside the earthball the spore mass is almost white at first but soon turns brown with white marbling before becoming purple-brown throughout. At maturity the skin ruptures leaving a large, irregular opening via which the wind and rain disperse the spores. Empty earthball cases can persist for many months in sheltered woodland hollows.


These poisonous fungi are found throughout Europe and in North America. Scleroderma citrinum is mycorrhizal, found growing on well drained, sandy soil, forest tracks and shaded banks. Particularly common on the sides or forest drainage ditches.


I was suprised to see one this late/early in the season. Spotted in Bruggenbos in rural area of Twello, Holland. (sources:see reference)

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Spotted by

Gelderland, Netherlands

Spotted on Mar 16, 2015
Submitted on Mar 16, 2015

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