Of This Good Earth

Common Earthball (Scleroderma citrinum)

Common Earthball – Scleroderma citrinum

When I came across these potato-like mushrooms in my local wood I couldn’t help but think of the scene from Alien when John Hurt found himself surrounded by numerous alien eggs. I only saw the one to start with, and I photographed it, and then looked around, my eyes now accustomed to the gloom in this part of the woods, and saw there were quite a few more scattered about and poking through the leaf-litter.

Common Earthball – Scleroderma citrinum

I am just really glad one didn’t crack open for something terrible to spring out into my face!

Common Earthball – Scleroderma citrinum

Photographs of Common Earthball (Scleroderma citrinum), taken October 2016, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Common Earthball

Scleroderma citrinum

Common Earthball (Scleroderma citrinum)

This is a tough-skinned, potato-shaped earthball with coarse scales. It has light yellowish-brown skin, which when cut open reveals masses of black spores. Fruit body up to 15cm wide.

It fruits summer to late autumn. It grows singly or in groups in woodland or on banks and heaths, favouring acid soils. Very common and widespread.

Photograph of Common Earthball (Scleroderma citrinum), taken July 2015, local field , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.