Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Scleroderma Verrucosum

Do you remember I posted a few days ago a photo of some fungi that Jane described as looking like chocolate meringues?


Well, there are lots more of them appearing now. I think they are "Scleroderma Verrucosum", a type of Earth Ball fungus. The Latin name means something like "scaly-skinned verruca"! Their appearance changes a lot as they grow, but they are definitely scaly at some points in their lifecycle.

When they first show through the soil they are pale and smooth, but as they get older the top surface cracks and goes brown and scaly and the very old ones develop a deep chocolatey brown colour.




Not being a fungi expert I am not proposing to eat these things, but just for curiosity I picked a few in order to study them more closely and photograph them in more detail.






They are heavy. The pair in the photo above weighed 110 grams. I cut one open to see inside. The flesh was dense and white in the centre, but there was a definite outer layer like a skin. If somebody could persuade me that they are edible, I'd say they looked pretty appetising. As it happens, I think they are classed as "inedible" - meaning not poisonous, but not nice to eat either. Bizarrely they smelled to me like leaf coriander - which is a smell I am very aware of since I am allergic to that herb.


Arty shot to finish the post...






10 comments:

  1. Yes, they look like chocolate. Nice post and great shot.

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  2. Some people do pick wild mushrooms and eat them but I wouldn't have a clue. Some of the photos look like fresh baked bread.

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  3. P.S. I really like your new Wildlife page - some really super-fantastic photos.

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  4. Very interesting! Let us know if you find out if they are edible, and if you are brave enough to taste them, tell us about the taste. Be careful though. If it smells like what you are allergic to, it could have a relatively close chemical compostition. We don't want you getting sick.

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  5. We also have a lot of mushrooms sprouting in our garden. But I don't know their name or if they are edible. Your post has inspired me to see them in new light and study them.

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  6. I wouldn't have a clue whether a mushroom was edible or not, so I stay well clear of them unless I buy them. They do fascinate me though, so many different shapes, sizes and colours.

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  7. I'd never dare eat wild mushrooms as there are so many that look similar - one being edible and the other deadly poisonous. Just not worth the risk.

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  8. Hi mark, would love to know what camera you are using for your photos. Thanks, as I am currently research a new one for myself and your photos look great.

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  9. Do you have to eat the coriander to have a reaction or just touch it? The mushies really do look like chocolate meringue, and I love your arty shot!

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  10. There's no way I'm going to try eating those mushrooms! I will stick to looking at them.
    Ali - re Coriander: I dislike the smell of it but I am OK to handle it as long as I don't eat it. It makes me feel light-headed, nauseous, and induces sweating and vomiting. This allergy is more common than you would imagine. Lots of people blame symptoms like I have described on "a dodgy curry", but it is actually the coriander garnish that lots of Asian cuisines use that does the damage.

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