Observation 18755: Gasteromycetes Fr.

When: 2009-02-21

Collection location: Oakland Hills, Oakland, California, USA [Click for map]

Who: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)

Specimen available

when cut (with difficulty), it yielded a soft, yellow cheese-like center, fruity smelling.

spores small, round and bristly.


spores red in Meltzers reagent. 100x

Proposed Names

1% (2)
Recognized by sight: at first, david thought it was an amanita egg, buried in the grorund and half-unearthed by some animal. it was covered entirely by a tough and leathery, and white and semi-flocculent membrane, with a long black root.
-5% (2)
Recognized by sight: The spores look right for this genus.
1% (3)
Recognized by sight
28% (1)
Recognized by sight

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= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
this is not a fine white down…it’s actually more like a flocculent universal veil on an amanita.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-02-25 19:43:05 -05 (-0500)
By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2009-02-24 02:58:54 -05 (-0500)

>it is covered in an odd, fluffy white material

>i can find no description of a Bovista or a
>Scleroderma that has a yellowish context. Can you?

Debbie, the yellowing is actually one of the supporting features I noted when considering Scleroderma. The key to Scleroderma on MushroomExpert lists BOTH features- yellow or reddening, and a fine, whitish down covering when young- for multiple species.


The problem is that most Scleroderma seem to have a dark interior (and often, exterior) even when young. For instance, S. polyrhizum:
fits with the yellowing, the downy tissue when young, and the the thick, white rhizomorphs frequently attached to the base, as well as having spiny spores. However, it is too dark, inside and out, and the spines on the spores are too short.

So, I don’t know what species, but based on a lot of common traits, Scleroderma seems like a possibility.

Well, Irene, at least you found a truffle-like genus with yellow context!
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-02-23 11:28:26 -05 (-0500)

but that funny, fluffy outer layer doesn’t fit either of the two you mentioned, nor does the texture (soft, cheesy) of the context. the spores are sure spiny, but on the small size for those genera, at least as described in Arora MDM (still don’t have the budget for the very good and very expensive European library…)

should i dry it, or keep it fresh for a while? it’s in my fridge…

it’s not run of the mill, that’s for sure…

Very spiny spores
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2009-02-23 10:30:04 -05 (-0500)

and wooly outside.. Could it be something like Octavianina, Sclerogaster..?

there are two unusual qualities to this fungus…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-02-23 10:03:55 -05 (-0500)

one is that it is covered in an odd, fluffy white material that appears to be eminently edible for small woodland creatures (and was exposed by another small woodland creature that was not a slug, perhaps due to its smell); enlarge first photo to see what I mean.

and secondly, the context is YELLOW, which doesn’t show up too well in my photo, but was present nontheless. i can find no description of a Bovista or a Scleroderma that has a yellowish context. Can you?

the natural history is proving as curious as the pursuit of a name.

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2009-02-23 02:34:14 -05 (-0500)

I was considering Bovista too, but the smaller species without a pseudo-stipe (like seen in Lycoperdon), and with thick, ropey rhizomorphs attached, all seemed to be described as having smooth rather than echinulate spores.

Not that that delimits the possibility, though.

good catch CureCat. I haven’t checked, but I think you’re right…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-02-22 22:46:27 -05 (-0500)

it’s an artifically black root.

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2009-02-22 22:27:32 -05 (-0500)

Hmm, the root doesn’t look black so much as it appears to be covered in dirt. I enlarged the image and noticed white rhizomorphs attached to the base, with a thick coating of dirt.

Perhaps you brushed it off more thoroughly, and uncovered some black rhizomorphs not visible in the photo?

some kind of really cool, semi-subterranean puffball…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-02-22 22:16:33 -05 (-0500)

…found in a mixed redwood forest.