A pretty disgusting pun for a Friday evening, eh!
I had the chance to explore a common this afternoon, on my lunch break, and in the small area that I managed to traverse in the space of an hour I came across many earthballs (Scleroderma spp.). Delightfully, they were all mature, and some had begun to eject their spores via natural means – the ones that hadn’t quite got there, certainly were by the time I had finished taking photos! A brilliant ‘puff’ of sooty spore filled the air, when any decent amount of pressure was applied by my finger (or foot) to the ripe fruiting body. Awesome to witness, and the inertia generated by the pressure ejected the spores a good few centimetres up into the turbulent air currents. Other spores were then carried around by me as I paraded half a earthball around for a good few dozen metres, before realising holding onto it was a sure-fire way of looking like a part-time chinmey sweeper…
As this is a blog, and you all clearly come here for the pictures, now bear witness to the venerable earthball. The lack of a discernible pseudostipe (false stem – like the stem that holds up an agaric) probably makes these Scleroderma citrinum. Note these are mycorrhizal fungi, and associate notably with beech, birch, and oak.