Came across this group in Pembrey Forest a couple of days ago. At first, because of their papery skin, took them to be a group of common puffballs. When I took one home I found the spores were huge at about 12 µm, whereas puffball spores tend to be a lot smaller. Also as can be seen the spores have a reticulated network covering them, which from the literature would tend to suggest they were in fact an earthball called Scleroderma bovista, the Potato Earthball. The Scaly Earthball, s. verrucosum also has a papery skin (unlike the usual tough, leathery skin that the common earthball has), but the spores of s. verrucosum do not have a reticulated network.
- perhaps they may still be there for our foray on Sunday?
|Spores of s.bovista, some showing a network of ridges across them|