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Scleroderma areolatum

[ Basidiomycetes > Boletales > Sclerodermataceae > Scleroderma . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This widely distributed Scleroderma species probably requires microscopic analysis for certain identification. Several similar species share most of its visible features: thin skin, small brownish scales over a yellowish background, a blackish interior, and a brownish to reddish reaction to KOH.

A look at the spores of Scleroderma areolatum, however, eliminates the other possibilities. The spores are densely spiny but not reticulate, measuring 11-15 µ, with spines up to 2 µ long.

Scleroderma lycoperdoides is a synonym.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with hardwoods and conifers in moist, shady woods--but also possibly saprobic, since it is also found in open areas, gardens, and so on; growing gregariously or clustered (rarely alone); widely distributed in North America; summer and fall.

Fruiting Body: 1-5 cm across; round or shaped like an inverted pear; the surface smooth and bruising reddish when young, becoming scaly (especially near the apex) and by maturity acquiring a "leopard skin" appearance with small brownish scales over a yellowish base color; skin 1 mm thick or less; without a stem, or occasionally with a poorly defined pseudo-stem; with white rhizomorphs attached to the base; odor sweetish or not distinctive.

Spore Mass: Whitish and fleshy at first but soon dark purplish or olive brown, eventually powdery.

Chemical Reactions: Surface instantly yellowish brown or dark red with KOH.

Microscopic Features: Spores 11-15 µ; round or nearly so; densely spiny but not reticulate; with spines up to 2 µ long.

REFERENCES: Ehrenberg, 1818. (Saccardo, 1888; Guzmán, 1970; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Phillips, 1991/2005; Horn, Kay & Abel, 1993; Sims, Watling & Jeffries, 1995; Barron, 1999; McNeil, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 09180404, 09160604, 06150801.

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Scleroderma areolatum

Scleroderma areolatum

Scleroderma areolatum

Scleroderma areolatum

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Kuo, M. (2004, December). Scleroderma areolatum. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: