Scleroderma citrinum

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Scleroderma citrinum
File:Scleroderma citrinum.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Homobasidiomycetes
Order: Boletales
Family: Sclerodermataceae
Genus: Scleroderma
Species: S. citrinum
Binomial name
Scleroderma citrinum

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Schleroderma citrinum
mycological characteristics:
smooth hymenium

no distinct cap

hymenium attachment is not applicable

lacks a stipe

spore print is black

Mycorrhizal ecology icon.png 

ecology is mycorrhizal

edibility: poisonous

Scleroderma citrinum, known as the "pigskin poison puffball,"[1] "common earthball,"[2] or "common earth ball,"[3] is the most common species of Earth Ball in the UK and occurs widely in woods, heathland and in short grass from Autumn to Winter. Scleroderma citrinum has two synonyms, Scleroderma aurantium (Vaill.) and Scleroderma vulgare Horn.[4]

Earth Balls are superficially similar to, and considered look-alikes of the edible Puff Balls, but whereas the Puff Ball has a single opening on top through which the spores are dispersed, the Earth Ball just breaks up to release the spores. Moreover, Scleroderma citrinum has much firmer flesh and a dark gleba (interior) much earlier in development than puffballs. Scleroderma citrinum has no stem but is attached to the soil by mycelial cords. The peridium, or outer wall, is thick and firm, usually ochre yellow externally with irregular warts.

The Earth ball may be parasitized by Boletus parasiticus.

Ingestion of scleroderma citrinum can cause gastrointestinal distress in humans and animals, and some individuals may experience lacrimation, rhinitis and rhinorrhea, and conjunctivitis from exposure to its spores.[5][6]


  1. (January 2005.) "Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge: Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan, January 2005." U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, p. 195, via Retrieved on 2007-09-17.
  2. "List of Recommended English Names For Fungi in the UK." (Website.) Fungi 4 Schools, by the British Mycological Society. Retrieved on 2007-09-17.
  3. Falandysz, Jerzy. (March 2002.) "Mercury in mushrooms and soil of the Tarnobrzeska Plain, south-eastern Poland." (Abstract only via National Insitutes of Health website). Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A, Toxic/hazardous substances & environmental engineering, 2002, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 343-352, ISSN 1093-4529. Retrieved on 2007-09-17.
  4. Pekşen, Aysun and Gürsel Karaca (2003.) "Macrofungi of Samsun Province." Turkish Journal of Botany, 27: 173-184. (Full text online.) Retrieved on 2007-09-17.
  5. (October 2006.) "Reflections on Mushroom Poisoning – Part III." (Newsletter.) Fungifama: The Newsletter of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society, via Retrieved on 2007-09-17.
  6. Hoffman, Ursula. "Poisonous Mushrooms in Northeastern North America" (Website.) NorthEast Mycological Federation, Inc. Retrieved on 2007-09-17.


  • Buckzacki, Stefan (1982). Mushrooms and Toadstools (Collins Gem Guide). Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. ISBN 0-00-458812-6. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  • Wakefield, Elsie M. (1964). The Observer's Book of Common Fungi (Observer's Pocket Series No. 19) (3rd printing ed.). Frederic Warne & Co Ltd. ISBN 0914140796 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help).


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