Observation 58416: Scleroderma Pers.

When: 2010-11-10

Collection location: Lebanon, Linn Co., Oregon, USA [Click for map]

Who: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)

No specimen available

Recorded in late October, a rocked driveway. A bit scaly towards the apex with definite red to brown hues. The photo may not really show the ‘stem’ but does show the rhizomorphs well. 2mm width of outer skin.

[admin – Sun Nov 14 14:13:19 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ‘Lebanon, Linn Co., Oregon, USA’ to ‘Lebanon, Oregon, USA


Copyright © 2010 Britney
Copyright © 2010 Britney
Copyright © 2010 Britney

Proposed Names

-39% (4)
Used references: Michael Kuo’s keys on Mushroom Expert.
-17% (4)
Used references: Because Alan said so!
25% (6)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2012-05-14 10:59:58 CDT (-0400)

I’ll be checking this spot again towards fall in hopes to grab some more of these. Thanks for your comments and time with this observation. I hope to collect many more fruit bodies like these to study.

There seems to be some discrepancy over the term rhizomorphs.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2012-05-13 20:07:01 CDT (-0400)

Rhizomorphs is defined in Smith, Smith & Weber’s “How to know the Non-gilled fungi” as “a threadlike or cordlike structure composed of hyphae, often found at the base of mushroom fruting bodies or under the bark of dead trees.” In 1981 when this was written, it was considered sufficient for the time. But times change. Rhizomorphs now also refer to usually thread-like coverings on Rhizopogonaceae. This observation has no such surface rhizomorphs covering most of the surface of the obs. Rather, only basal attachment rhizomorphs are present. When thick and ropey, these act as a kind of basal attachment to soils to hold the sporocarp in place and support it with nutrients.

This is not a Rhizopogon. The thick ropey rhizomorphs at the base plus the relatively thick peridium prove Scleroderma. The question only remains “which Scleroderma?” Sclerodermataceae are very common in Oregon, and often fruit in mulched areas. Even gravel acts as a mulch here. Or, to put it another way, a casing layer.

All Scleroderma, Rhizopogon and Endogone
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2010-11-11 22:11:51 CST (-0500)

are mycorrhizal fungi. That means they cannot exist without a plant associate. Fifty feet away is nothing for a mycorrhizal fungi. If the tree is 50 feet tall, mycorrhizal fungi associated with that tree may be fruiting 100 feet or further from the trunk. That’s part of why host identification of mycorrhizal fungi is difficult even today.

Even today’s keys are not 100% accurate: there is always something new to learn. It’s trite but also true.

BTW, the real experts in the field are actually closer to you at the Oregon State Forestry Laboratory, 1600 Jefferson Way, Corvallis, Oregon. They have some of the keys that incorporate data compiled within the last few years, such as those collected by Dr. James Trappe at Australia in 1996, I believe. Jim and some grad students were able to spend 3 weeks collecting on the northeastern shore of Australia, and found some 300 collections of what generally are hypogeous fungi there. Some of these typical hypogeous (underground) fungi were found fruiting 30 meters up on the side of a tree!

Are there Scleroderma with brown gleba?
By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2010-11-11 21:33:49 CST (-0500)

I read over the keys to Scleroderma from mushroom expert’s site, but did not see mention of that feature.

By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2010-11-11 21:05:14 CST (-0500)

These were literally growing up from beneath the gravel, next to a garage. The nearest tree was at least fifty feet away. I don’t know if that is close enough to be a nutrient source.
I would be happy to check this spot again, it’s an abandoned property across from my home. When I checked it this morning, it had been more than two weeks since the last find. Perhaps there will be more! If I were to see any new ones, I would be happy to send them on to you. You seem like the guy who would know!
I very much appreciate your interest and your continued effort with this. I’m learning a lot!

2mm at the widest?
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2010-11-11 19:13:18 CST (-0500)

Many Scleroderma I’ve collected have peridiums 4-6mm thick. Stem is not really a stem, but is termed a columella: something like a rudimentary stem, but without as much differentiation in cell function.

Still, Scleroderma seems a better fit than anything else at this time. There has to be a nearby shrub or tree. Can you tell anything about them, or provide (yet another) photo of leaves/stems/cones/nuts/acorns?

Outer shell is
By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2010-11-11 19:04:22 CST (-0500)

approximately 2 mm at the widest.

Scleroderma. But not very mature.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2010-11-11 18:55:39 CST (-0500)

Or at least not mature in my experience. This almost looks more like a huge Endogone lactiflua, but the peridium is way too thick for that, I think. Did you measure the thickness of the outer shell, Britney?

There are two species here
By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2010-11-11 14:30:28 CST (-0500)

The first two pictures are of one species, and the third with the dark showing through is separate. I went back today and collected the specimen from the the first two photos, and found a fresher example of the third. I would like to remove the third picture here and include it with the newer photos of today’s collection.
I assumed that this observation’s specimen were all the same thing, growing all together, looking similar on a surface level. Lesson learned!

Rhizopogons have thin root-like rhizomorphs. Scleroderma have rope-like rhizomorphs.
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2010-11-11 14:18:31 CST (-0500)

Britany, your lost photo shows an insect or animal hole leading into the gleba on the side. The peridium here looks to be over 1mm thick, which Rhizopogon would never be. And the gleba visible through that hole is purplish with white sterile veins, quite typical of Scleroderma.

Alan: rhizomorphs on a Rhizopogon are (usually) thin and thread-like. Sometimes the peridium can even look like a felt-covered sponge because of thin mat-like rhizomorphs. This specimen clearly shows strong, thick, ropey rhizomorphs, usually near the base, a good feature of Scleroderma.

I think the confusion is the peridium on top of the sporocarps is eroding, leaving something like a chocolate area on the top. Erosion from tires or gravel in a “rocked driveway” logical. In older specimens, the surface peridium erodes completely, allowing spores to be dispersed by air or rain. The remaining spore-less shell can looks similar to a cup fungus. A photo of the freshly-sliced sporocarp would show both the thickness and any rhizomorphs on the peridium, as well as the gleba which often has marbling from sterile veins in immature material. Not all Sclerodermas have dark purple gleba. Mature S. areolatum, for example, is powdery and buff-brown colored, similar to a puffball. Immature Scleroderma have a wide-array of colors: off-white with white veins, becoming slightly yellowish, greenish, pinkish, then quickly becoming much darker: shades of chocolate-brown and purple-black, with white or yellow sterile veins.

Alan is correct to state only microscopy can prove or disprove Scleroderma reae.

By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2010-11-11 13:22:51 CST (-0500)

I think I can see the color of the inside in pic 1, and it is not the dark purple I would expect from Scleroderma.

Not sure why Tuberale voted I’d call it that on Scleroderma reae since these things require microscopy to be sure about the species.

Daniel and Alan
By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2010-11-11 08:17:24 CST (-0500)

First, thank you both for weighing in. In my reading on Scleroderma I see that microscopic work is the only way to determine down to the species. I’m curious what makes Alan so certain that it isn’t Scleroderma and what makes Daniel so certain that it is. Wouldn’t it be nice if I had a do-over on this find and could have collected more information. Ah well, we’ll get ’em next time!

With the exception of Rhizopogon ater
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2010-11-11 03:00:42 CST (-0500)

very few Rhizopogons with a dark black or purple/black gleba (interior). The epigeous habit of this specimen clearly shows the basal rhizomorphs, but few on the upper peridium, if indeed there are any. You were correct at first Britney.

Thanks Alan!
By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2010-11-10 16:58:13 CST (-0500)

Thank you for your correction on this one. When I saw yours I got super-duper excited that maybe I had an answer. Turns out I do have an answer!

Now I get Debbie’s ‘As if’ remark!

Created: 2010-11-10 13:04:08 CST (-0500)
Last modified: 2012-05-14 19:04:44 CDT (-0400)
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