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

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