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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

12 January, 2012

Common Earth Ball (Scleroderma citrinum)

This is a common autumn fungus found on the Dorset heath where the soil is mossy, peaty and sandy.

At first glance it could be mistaken for the familiar puff ball but, on closer inspection, the surface of the ball is much more scaly, indeed almost ridged. When fresh the appearance is quite light in colour but as it ages it turns a distinct yellow which is probarbly where its scientific name of 'citrinum' comes from, citrus coloured.

The spherical dome acts in a similar way to a puff ball but instead of small funnel at the top for the spores to emerge from the Common Earth Ball splits open to release its spores.

Not edible becuase it only has spores inside, very little flesh.
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Find out more about the nature of Dorset at my website www.natureofdorset.co.uk