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Scleroderma hypogaeum

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

by Michael Kuo

This western, conifer-associated species of Scleroderma usually grows underground, unlike the other members of the genus. It features a fairly thick skin, a smooth outer surface, and large spores that are crazily spiny and reticulate. It is very similar to Scleroderma michiganense, but the latter species grows above ground under hardwoods in eastern North America, has a finely scaly surface, and usually generates a fairly substantial pseudo-stem.

Scleroderma arenicola is a synonym.

Thanks to Laura Wells for collecting, documenting, and preserving Scleroderma hypogaeum for study; her collection is deposited in The Herbarium of Michael Kuo.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with conifers; usually growing underground or half-buried; western North America from Oregon to Colorado, and montane Mexico (precise range limits not clearly established); summer, fall, and over winter in warmer climates.

Fruiting Body: 1-7 cm across; round or irregularly blob-like or lobed; surface whitish to yellowish, smooth or very finely hairy in places; bruising slightly yellow or reddish; skin 1-3 mm thick; sometimes with a vaguely pinched base, but without a pseudo-stem; attached to white rhizomorphs.

Spore Mass: Fleshy and white at first, becoming yellowish and, eventually, black and dust-like.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on surface of dried specimens reddish; reaction on fresh material not recorded.

Microscopic Features: Spores 18-25 µ (including ornamentation); round or nearly so; densely spiny and reticulate, with complex, often curved spines 1-4 µ long.

REFERENCES: Zeller, 1922. (Guzmán, 1970; States, 1990; Sims, Watling & Jeffries, 1995.) Herb. Kuo 07031101.

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Scleroderma hypogaeum

Scleroderma hypogaeum

Scleroderma hypogaeum

Scleroderma hypogaeum
KOH, dried specimen

Scleroderma hypogaeum

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Kuo, M. (2011, July). Scleroderma hypogaeum. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: