The puffball genus Scleroderma is commonly called the thick-skinned puffball or earthball. It grows in association with the roots of various trees, is related to boletes, and completely unrelated to other puffballs such as Calvatia or Lycoperdon. The thick covering or rind (peridium) encloses a purplish interior (gleba) that is solid first and gradually matures into a dry mass of spores. Scleroderma cepa occurs in grassy areas, around plantings, along paths, and with under various trees. This puffball appears in our area during the summer months in watered areas and after the sufficient rainfall. All species of Sclerodermaare toxic.
Scleroderma cepa is part of the Burke Museum's Mushroom of the Month series.
Photo by J. Ammirati