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Fruitbody thick walled, splitting from the topScleroderma sp.

Earth balls

 

Mature Scleroderma fruit bodies hold a mass of powdery spores. Initially the fruit body is more or less globular (perhaps raised on a short, thickish, pseudo-stem), yellow to brown externally, solid, whitish internally. The globular section may be 2 to 8 centimetres in diameter, depending on species. Over time purplish brown spores develop inside and eventually the fruit body consists of a thick skin holding a mass of spores. The thickness of the skin varies, depending on species. Sometimes only about a millimetre thick in others a few millimetres. The thick skin splits irregularly, but more or less radially and in general the sectors then bend out a bit to expose the powdery spore mass for dispersal by wind or water.

 

In this photo (http://www.cpbr.gov.au/fungi/images-captions/scleroderma-sp-0068.html) you see the insides of two fruit bodies. The one on the left is fairly immature, largely with pale flesh but you can see that mature spores  are already present in part of the fruit body. In the one on the right the interior is now wholly spores and you can see the thick skin (about 2-3 mm thick in this case) quite clearly. Splitting of the skin would be about to start. In these two fruit bodies there is no pseudo-stem. In this photo (http://www.cpbr.gov.au/fungi/images-captions/scleroderma-sp-0069.html) you see three mature fruit bodies with varying degrees of splitting and bending outward.

 

The name Scleroderma is derived from two Greek words skleros (tough) and derma (skin) and, as well as being a fungal genus, the word is also the name of an autoimmune disease in which there is a hardening of the skin.

 

Scleroderma vs. Calvatia

 

Calvatia is another genus in which you may find powdery spored, roughly globular fruit bodies in which the outer skin breaks up.

 

The skin in Calvatia is thin (under a millimetre thick) and it breaks up into irregular fragments which fall away. The best analogy I can make is to say the skin breaks up a bit like flaky pastry. There is not the radial splitting and bending out.

 

In Calvatia the spores are held within a cotton-wool-like mass (technically a capillitium). There is no capillitium in Scleroderma.

 

A Calvatia fruit body is softer and more squashable, a bit like a sponge - but this last point of difference is obviously more subjective.

 

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Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Mount Ainslie - 7 Jul 2019 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Hughes Garran Woodland - 1 Jul 2019 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Gungaderra Grasslands - 23 Jun 2019 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Red Hill Nature Reserve - 21 Jun 2019 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Googong Foreshore - 12 May 2019 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Hughes, ACT - 4 May 2019 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Watson, ACT - 21 Apr 2019 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Hughes, ACT - 28 Jan 2019 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Hughes Garran Woodland - 15 Jan 2019 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve - 9 May 2018 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at National Arboretum Forests - 7 Sep 2017 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Aranda Bushland - 28 May 2017 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Watson, ACT - 29 Apr 2017 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Namadgi National Park - 9 Jul 2016 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve - 26 Jun 2016 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Namadgi National Park - 16 May 2016 Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Black Mountain - 16 Aug 2014
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Mount Ainslie - 7 Jul 2019
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Hughes Garran Woodland - 1 Jul 2019
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Gungaderra Grasslands - 23 Jun 2019
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Red Hill Nature Reserve - 21 Jun 2019
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Googong Foreshore - 12 May 2019
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Hughes, ACT - 4 May 2019
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Watson, ACT - 21 Apr 2019
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Hughes, ACT - 28 Jan 2019
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Hughes Garran Woodland - 15 Jan 2019
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve - 9 May 2018
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at National Arboretum Forests - 7 Sep 2017
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Aranda Bushland - 28 May 2017
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Watson, ACT - 29 Apr 2017
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Namadgi National Park - 9 Jul 2016
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve - 26 Jun 2016
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Namadgi National Park - 16 May 2016
Scleroderma sp. (Earth balls) at Black Mountain - 16 Aug 2014

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Scleroderma sp.
Scleroderma sp.
Scleroderma sp.

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Species Information

  • Scleroderma sp. Scientific name
  • Earth balls Common name
  • Not Sensitive
  • Local Native
  • Non-Invasive
  • 576.75m to 896m Recorded at altitude

Scleroderma sp. locations

Scleroderma sp. has been recorded at:

Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness Frogwatch ACT and Region Budawang Coast Nature Map Southern Highlands Nature Map Noosa Shire Nature Map Albury Wodonga Nature Map
1193272 sightings of 5481 species in 1191 locations from 2673 members
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