Common Earthball

Poisonous Poisonous
Autumn Autumn
Summer Summer

This very common mushroom appears to be responsible for the most mushroom poisonings each year in the UK. This is possibly due to confusion with Common Puffballs or even Truffles. There are three types of Earthball in the UK, Scleroderma citrinum (Common Earthball), Scleroderma areolatum (Leopard Earthball) and Scleroderma verrucosum (Scaly Earthball), all are similar but the Scaly Earthball is darker in colour.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Poison Puffballs, Leopard Earthball, Scaly Earthball
Scientific Name Scleroderma citrinum, areolatum, verrucosum
Season Start Jul
Season End Nov
Average Mushroom height (CM) 8
Average Cap width (CM) 12
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Fruiting Body

Generally spherical, irregular or potato shaped. Ranging from white to tan to brown with a darker wart like covering and a thick leathery skin.


Does not really have a stem but a few mycelial threadlike ‘roots’.


Inside the mushroom has a purple/brown to black interior with small white ‘veins’ running through. When very young the interior of the mushroom can appear whitish or slightly pink/purple but is never pure white like a Puff Ball. When mature the interior becomes powdery and the outer skin will develop pores or splits  through which the spores can be distributed when the mushroom is disturbed or rained on.


In most woodland and on mossy or peaty soil on heathland.

Spore Print

Brown. Globose with a net like covering.

Taste / Smell

A bit like rubber.


8 comments for Common Earthball

  1. tony wright says:

    If I send a photo of a mushroom thing I found in the garden would you be able to identify it

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Possibly, we would need clear photos of the caps, gills and stem to have a chance, send them to [email protected] and I’ll see what I can do.

  2. Penny Richards says:

    Thankyou for your clear identification. I have lots of these growing on my veg patch. Will they do any harm? Should I get rid of them, if so, how?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      They shouldn’t do any harm, they might even be doing good.

  3. Davina says:

    We have found a fungi in an elongated ball shape with a bright orange spongey interior at the end of our garden on the edge of a forest under an old oak tree, growing on woody matter, bark clippings etc I can’t identify it. Do you have any idea what it might be please?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      If you can send in clear photos of the mushroom from above and below and the interior to [email protected], I’ll try to ID it for you.

  4. Isaiah Saji says:

    What happeneds if you inhale the powder

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      As the mushroom is poisonous, it could cause serious illness. People who have consumed them thinking they were edible puffballs usually end up in hospital.

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