Scleroderma citrinum

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Scleroderma citrinum
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Boletales
Family: Sclerodermataceae
Genus: Scleroderma
S. citrinum
Binomial name
Scleroderma citrinum
Scleroderma citrinum
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Glebal hymenium
No distinct cap
Hymenium attachment is not applicable
Lacks a stipe
Spore print is purple-black
Ecology is mycorrhizal
Edibility is poisonous
SEM image of a cross section of peridium, gleba region with small spiky spores

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 fungus 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 (particularly Apioperdon pyriforme), 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.

Scleroderma citrinum can be mistaken with truffles by inexperienced mushroom hunters. Ingestion of Scleroderma citrinum can cause gastrointestinal distress in humans and animals. Some individuals may experience lacrimation, rhinitis and rhinorrhea, and conjunctivitis from exposure to its spores.[5][6]

Pigments found in the fruiting body of Scleroderma citrinum Pers. are sclerocitrin, norbadione A, xerocomic acid, and badione A.


  1. ^ "List of Recommended English Names For Fungi in the UK" (PDF). Fungi 4 Schools. British Mycological Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  2. ^ "Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge: Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan, January 2005" (PDF). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. January 2005. p. 195. Retrieved 2007-09-17 – via
  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. doi:10.1081/ese-120002833. PMID 11929073. S2CID 24124204.
  4. ^ Pekşen, Aysun and Gürsel Karaca (2003). "Macrofungi of Samsun Province" (PDF). Turkish Journal of Botany. 27: 173–184.
  5. ^ "Reflections on Mushroom Poisoning – Part III" (PDF). Fungifama: The Newsletter of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society. October 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-17 – via
  6. ^ Hoffman, Ursula. "Poisonous Mushrooms in Northeastern North America". NorthEast Mycological Federation, Inc. Archived from the original on 2004-06-07. Retrieved 2007-09-17.


  • Buckzacki, Stefan; John Wilkinson (1982). Mushrooms and Toadstools (Collins Gem Guide). Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. ISBN 0-00-458812-6.
  • Wakefield, Elsie M. (1964). The Observer's Book of Common Fungi (Observer's Pocket Series No. 19) (3rd printing ed.). Frederic Warne & Co Ltd. OCLC 748994120.

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