Scleroderma citrinum

Scleroderma citrinum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Boletales
Family: Sclerodermataceae
Genus: Scleroderma
Species: S. citrinum
Binomial name
Scleroderma citrinum
Scleroderma citrinum
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Mycological characteristics

glebal hymenium
no distinct cap
hymenium attachment is not applicable
lacks a stipe
spore print is purple-black
ecology is mycorrhizal
edibility: poisonous

Scleroderma citrinum, commonly known as the common earthball,[1] pigskin poison puffball,[2] or common earth ball,[3] is the most common species of earthball 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]

Earthballs are superficially similar to, and considered look-alikes of, the edible puffball, but whereas the puffball has a single opening on top through which the spores are dispersed, the earthball 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 earthball may be parasitized by Pseudoboletus 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. "List of Recommended English Names For Fungi in the UK." (Website.) Fungi 4 Schools, by the British Mycological Society. Retrieved on 2007-09-17.
  2. (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.
  3. Falandysz J (March 2002). "Mercury in mushrooms and soil of the Tarnobrzeska Plain, south-eastern Poland". J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 37 (3): 343–52. PMID 11929073.
  4. Pekşen, Aysun and Gürsel Karaca (2003). "Macrofungi of Samsun Province" (PDF). Turkish Journal of Botany. 27: 173–184.
  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.


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