The earthballs. This genus is characterised by a hard, rind-like yellow or brownish spore case, with or without a stout sterile base, and opening through an irregular pore or sometimes in an irregular star-like manner. When immature the flesh inside the fruiting body is purple in colour, compared to the white-coloured flesh of puffballs.
Mycorrhizal with the tea-tree species and with exotic species such as oak.
There are 5 species reported for New Zealand and all should be regarded as poisonous.


NZFungi Entry

Scleroderma bovista

Characterised by its relatively thin upper layer to the fruit body and apical pore.

Scleroderma cepa

Mature fruit bodies open in a star-like manner and superficially resemble earth stars. Remnants of the grey spore mass are visible in the left fruit body, but most have been lost from the water-filled fruit body on the right.