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...
P.S. Since becoming reasonably knowledgeable about fungi, and having observed these things develop in my garden, I have realised that the fungi I described in this post are NOT Scleroderma verrucosum, but immature fruitbodies of Geastrum triplex, the Collared Earthstar. You live and learn...!