|I’d Call It That||3.0||3.38||1||(MycoGuide)|
|Could Be||1.0||6.13||1||(T. Sage)|
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|I’d Call It That||3.0||0.00||0|
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Scleroderma is a confusing mix-mash of observations.
This is even more so because of the apparent top-most damage, probably caused by a lawnmower. The areolate surface you refer to appears first in the uppermost area. That concept of maturing from the top downward seems to be consistent within both Sclerodermas and many puffballs.
S. areolatum for my collections identified by Dr. Trappe have never been the thick/hard/superball consistency of S. laeve or S. cepa, which are also common here on the West coast.
Thus we have the thin-skinned varieties to contend with here.
Sometimes these thin-skinned varieites can be pointed to by how the peridium stains or discolors after being sliced or bruised. But not, apparently, all the time. Water availability and temperature have a lot to do with maturity as well. Often I start seeing the thin-skinned varieties locally in July after we have had some 80 degree weather. This year, Portland has not seen much 80 degree days, so my obs. for Scleroderma this year have been sparse. The thick-skinned varieties tend to appear after or during extremely hot days.
Soil types also affect development. I have rarely collected S. hypogaeum, which has some of the thickest skins I have ever seen in Scleroderma when they are hypogeous.
To further confuscate the issue or thin- or thick-skinned peridium, the more mature the Scleroderma, the less likely it is to have a thick peridium. S. hypoaeum can be an epigeous fungus, and have almost no surface peridium, yet the hypogeous portion can be 3-6mm thick.
Scleroderma was the first mycorrhizal fungus I cultivated in my backyard in 1986, associated both with Italian spruce-pine and Quercus palustra. Scleroderma is one of those species you really need to cultivate and see in many different stages of development over time.
Finally, a major identification feature for Sclerodermas is the portion which is underground. If the collector breaks off the base, it is impossible to tell what kind of base is involved. If found in mulch, under full-canopy trees, or in sand, it is much easier to pull these collections out without damaging them extensively. When the collection is in hard-packed soil, the rooting portion is typically left in the ground, as it breaks off easily.
I can’t speak to the concepts of Dr. Trappe or NATS. But, this observation does not come anywhere close to matching Smith Smith and Weber, p. 250, which is the standard concept (at least in the east): particularly, Peridium thin, flexible and almost papery at maturity. Surface of spore case dotted with distinct, inherent darker brown scales.
Looking at observations on Mushroom Observer it seems that there are two or more different concepts for this name. The following are examples of the concept that I follow:
Dr. Trappe was the scientific advisor for the North American Truffling Society, which I belonged to for 25 years or so. NATS has many keys not currently published elsewhere.
I also like Smith, Smith & Weber’s How to Know The Non-Gilled Mushrooms, although many would argue it is out of date. Mine is a second edition published in 1981. I was fortunate enough to have Nancy autograph it for me.
Daniel and Tim, whose concept are you using for calling this S. areolatum? It does not have the areolate surface and smaller size described and illustrated in the references that I am familiar with. Tim, I see you have other observations named this also, that do not look right to me. Thanks, Patrick
Spongy-ish, perhaps? :)
Lawnmower damage is likely.
Looks similar to S. areolatum. Also appears to have been damaged at on the tops, maybe from a lawnmower?
Created: 2012-06-29 15:10:03 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2012-07-01 00:05:11 CDT (-0400)
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