Earth balls (Scleroderma)

Common in Queensland. Found growing in partnership with the roots of Allocasuarina and Eucalyptus, or related species. Roughly ball-shaped, often looking somewhat like a scaly or warty potato, 2–10+ cm in diameter, brownish and usually lacking a stem. The surface is thin to thick and a variation of light yellow, yellowish-brown to brown; smooth to sectioned into discrete plates or scales by cracks or fissures. The interior is at first white to off-white, becoming violet to violet-black with white veins just prior to maturity. Once spores are fully mature the interior is filled with an olive-brown to brown, snuffy powder. The earth-ball may crack open at the top or split radially to release the spores.

Toxicity category: 2
Category 2 - Potentially toxic
Warning: Seek urgent medical attention for any ingestion.

Common name: Earth balls

Botanical name: Scleroderma species

Other common names: Pigskins, Poison puffballs

Family: –

General description: Common in Queensland. Found growing in partnership with the roots of Allocasuarina and Eucalyptus, or related species. Roughly ball-shaped, often looking somewhat like a scaly or warty potato, 2–10+ cm in diameter, brownish and usually lacking a stem. The surface is thin to thick and a variation of light yellow, yellowish-brown to brown; smooth to sectioned into discrete plates or scales by cracks or fissures. The interior is at first white to off-white, becoming violet to violet-black with white veins just prior to maturity. Once spores are fully mature the interior is filled with an olive-brown to brown, snuffy powder. The earth-ball may crack open at the top or split radially to release the spores.

Flowers: –

Leaves: –

Fruit/Berries: –

Other: –

Symptoms: These mushrooms may be gastro-intestinal irritants, causing abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Onset may be 15 minutes to two hours after eating, and symptoms subside in 3-4 hours. Full recovery may take several days.

Toxicity category: 2
Category 2 - Potentially toxic
Warning: Seek urgent medical attention for any ingestion.

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