Observation 55849: Scleroderma Pers.

Displayed at the 2010 Oregon Mycological Show.

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thanks for the clarification
By: Dennis Oliver
2011-08-31 19:10:28 PDT (-0700)

Identification from photos is always a losing game. As you mentioned the key characteristics of identifing S. meridionale are the sandy habitat, strong yellowish color, thin peridium and the pseudo-stipe composed of entwined rhizomorphs. The other characters of color change with KOH and spore characteristics are farless helpful in comparison to the color of the peridium and the distinctive pseud-stipe. Your photos showed none of these characters. I’ve collected S. meridionale on the oregon dunes and it’s unmistakeable.

The basic source of taxonomic information on Scleroderma is Guzman’s 1970 monograph on the genus Scleroderma written in spanish but with keys and a few notes in english. Sims, Watling and Jeffries published a revised key to the genus in 1995 (Mycotaxon 56:403-420) which follows Guzman and adds a few new species. Michael Kuo’s keys in Mushroom Expert are based on Guzman’s monograph and translations Kuo had made of Guzman’s spanish text. I think Kuo’s keys are the best available (although Ramsey and Gibson’s PNW Key Council Scleroderma is very helpful for Oregon and Washington material.)

Smith’s How to know series is getting pretty old in the tooth (and even when published a bit uneven in his treatments) and some of his concepts are a bit out of date. For example in the DNA age Lycoperdon is growing with sections of Calvatia and Bovista being added to the genus. Uber-Lycoperdon!!!

One really strong recommendation for PNW gasteromycete studies is to get a copy of Pegler, Laessee and Spooner’s British Puffballs, Earthstars and Stinkhorns. It has very nice photos, good keys and descriptions and defines european species very well. Many of the same names and hopefully species appear in the Pacific Northwest. (European Calvatias are little help here, see Smith and Zeller for our stuff.)

I identified this this collection.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2011-08-31 07:47:18 PDT (-0700)

And while the photos do not show the pseudostipe, it was present. Which is why the identification of S. meridiole was made, based on Smith, Smith and Weber.

It’s possible that Kuo’s key has more recent information on this and other species. But I prefer the original identification source. And I happened to have it with me when I attended the show.

BTW, I have collected S. meridiole from the same sand dune areas as you, Dennis. The photos just couldn’t show the tag plus the psudostipe, and have the identification in focus. Trust me: this observation has lots of sand still adherring to the pseudostipe, which extended at least 3 inches, and probably more from the base. In fact, it looked like it had been washed!

The only thing lacking for a positive identification is spore microscopy.

While I personally didn’t see “golden yellow” on the peridium, it was equally obvious the specimen had recently undergone heavy rainfall as well, which would (IMO) account for the dulled appearance. Oregon coast deluges change many fungal exteriors to more camophlaged coloring. For example, a good soaking rain will change choice edible Lobster mushrooms into a sorry, stinking, soggy mass. Which is why the “sniff” test is so important before adding them to the bag late in the season.

Un-noted in the description was the rather rancid odor of decaying Scleroderma. Something more people would rather forget, but (somehow) sticks in my mind … and my copy of Mushrooms Demystified, even after 25 years.

Scleroderma yes; meridionale no
By: Dennis Oliver
2011-08-31 01:33:02 PDT (-0700)

I’ve collected S. meridionale in the Oregon dunes. The key character is the promient pseudo-stipe composed of bundled rhizomorphs, once seen you’ll never mistake it for any other Scleroderma.

Most keys to Scleroderma group the species by spore characters: spiney-verrucose, semi-reticulate and mostly reticulate. other characters such as staining, reaction to KOH and thickness of peridium are also used.

Michael Kuo’s key to Scleroderma is useful as is the Pacific Northwest Key Councils Scleroderma key

By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2010-10-19 18:26:01 PDT (-0700)

this is what S. meridionale looks like

I don’t have the monograph on Sclerderma so I can’t help…

In How to Know the Non-Gilled Mushrooms by Smith, Smith and Weber
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2010-10-19 17:51:53 PDT (-0700)

S. meridionale is described as: “Base of fruiting body elongated by a mass of sand and mycelium 5-10 cm long and up to 3.5 microns thick, fruiting in sand, especially dunes; peridium smooth becoming furfuraceous, opening +/- to irreguloarly, spores reticulate.” "Fruiting body 2.5-8 cm broad, golden yellow; peridium coriaceous, spores (9) 10-14 (16) microns in diam, the ornamentation to 2 microns high.
“Fruiting in sandy areas, dunes and beaches; late summer and early fall, widely distributed i suitable habitats. S. macrorhizon was the name applied to this species in the previous edition.”

Admittedly the sand adhering to the sterile base has been cleaned, and might make someone suspicious of this identification. Are there others?

Created: 2010-10-18 16:31:06 PDT (-0700)
Last modified: 2011-08-31 19:14:28 PDT (-0700)
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