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Scleroderma citrinum

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

by Michael Kuo

Some authors call the mushrooms in Scleroderma "earthballs," to emphasize their differences from fleshier puffballs. Many Scleroderma species have tough outer rinds, and Scleroderma citrinum has a rind that is scaly and hard. When sliced, the rind stains pinkish. Inside, the spore mass is initially white, but soon begins to turn dark purple to purple-black, from the center outwards.

Scleroderma citrinum is the only mushroom that plays host to Pseudoboletus parasiticus, an extremely odd little bolete that actually parasitizes this puffball. See the illustration to the right. Go figure!

Scleroderma aurantium and Scleroderma vulgare are synonyms.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with hardwoods and conifers; often found in mossy areas (occasionally on well-rotted wood); growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; widely distributed; summer and fall.

Fruiting Body: 2-10 cm across; round or flattened; the surface hard and scaly, yellowish to yellow-brown, often cracked; the "skin" whitish when sliced but blushing pinkish; sometimes gathered at the base, where mycelial strands may be found.

Spore Mass: Thick and white at first, becoming purple to purple-black from the center outwards; eventually blackish to brownish and dust-like.

Chemical Reactions: Surface dark reddish with KOH.

Microscopic Features: Spores 8-13 µ; round; prominently reticulate.

REFERENCES: Persoon, 1801. (Saccardo, 1888; Guzmán, 1970; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Sims, Watling & Jeffries, 1995; Barron, 1999; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006.)

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Scleroderma citrinum

Scleroderma citrinum

Scleroderma citrinum

Boletus parasiticus
Boletus parasiticus growing from S. citrinum

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