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The gleba of the "common earthball" (Scleroderma citrinum) has a dark color.

Gleba (/ˈɡlbə/, from Latin glaeba, glēba, "lump") is the spore-bearing inner mass of certain fungi such as the puffball or stinkhorn.

The gleba is a solid mass of spores, generated within an enclosed area within the sporocarp. The continuous maturity of the sporogenous cells leave the spores behind as a powdery mass that can be easily blown away. The gleba may be sticky or it may be enclosed in a case (peridiole).[1]

It is a tissue usually found in an angiocarpous fruit-body, especially gasteromycetes. Angiocarpous fruit-bodies usually consist of fruit enclosed within a covering that does not form a part of itself; such as the filbert covered by its husk, or the acorn seated in its cupule. The presence of gleba can be found in earthballs and puffballs. The gleba consists of mycelium, and basidia and may also contain capillitium threads.[2]

Gleba found on the fruit body of species in the family Phallaceae is typically gelatinous, often fetid-smelling, and deliquescent (becoming liquid from the absorption of water). It is formed on the exterior face of the cap or the upper part of the fruit body. The foul smell helps to attract insects that help disperse the spores. Chemicals that contribute to the odor include methylmercaptan and hydrogen sulfide.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 2003 Friends episode "The One with the Lottery", Ross and Rachel's daughter Emma says "gleba" as her first word. At first, the characters, save Rachel, don't believe it's a real word, but Rachel gives them the definition from a dictionary.[4][5]


  1. ^ "gleba definition". Mycological Glossary. Illinois, United States: Illinois Mycological Association. Archived from the original on March 5, 2012. Retrieved 2008-10-24. As the spores mature, the sporogenous cells often liquify and/or disintegrate, leaving just the spores behind as a powdery mass that can easily blow away... In other cases, the gleba may be sticky, as in Sphaerobolus stellatus; or it may be enclosed in a case (called a peridiole), as in the Nidulariaceae.
  2. ^ Miller HR, Miller OK. (1988). Gasteromycetes: Morphological and Developmental Features, with Keys to the Orders, Families, and Genera. Eureka, California: Mad River Press. ISBN 0-916422-74-7.
  3. ^ Miller and Miller (1988), p. 75.
  4. ^ Jaleel, Bilal (September 20, 2019). "'Gleba' to 'Phalange', 8 Words 'Friends' Added to Our Vocabulary". TheQuint.
  5. ^ Dunn, Jennifer C. (December 15, 2019). Friends: A Cultural History. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781538112748 – via Google Books.