Winston wonders… what’s this apple fungus?

Hello again readers – Happy New Year 2017! After a long absence during which we’ve moved house and established the business in Wales, we’re back! Winston’s not doing much wondering at

Winston wonders
Winston & Lucy having a romantic moment in front of the fire.

the moment. He’s occupying the rug right in front of the fire and probably won’t move again until next April! Nonetheless, I’ve been out and about and thought I’d make a quick post describing a rather attractive fungus I’ve spotted in a hedgerow near Alltwallis in Carmarthenshire.

Common earthball fungus
Common earthball fungus
Common earthball fungus
Common earthball fungus

The fungus in question is a Common Earthball (Scleroderma citrinum) which has no stalk and releases its spores by bursting open explosively. Mushrooms of this type are known as ‘puffballs‘ and can come from several distinct groups of fungi.  It’s colour can vary from white to yellow / green and looks like a potato or small apple. It’s common in damp woodlands and is a saprophytic organism which means it feeds on dead organic material. Because it doesn’t directly cause decay in trees it has little arboricultural significance but I think it’s attractive anyway.  The examples I saw looked exactly like fallen apples – rather confusing under oak and willow trees! It’s considered by some to be poisonous or to at least cause an upset stomach so I don’t recommend you try eating it.

If you want to know more try John Harris’ ‘Mushroom Diary Blog‘ – great source of information and very readable.
That’s it for now and I hope you enjoyed the photos.