Scleroderma citrinum  

Scleroderma citrinum Pers. 1801

The 'False Puffball', 'Pig-skin Poison Puffball, ‘Common Earthball’ or similar variations on it widely used common name certainly succeed in conveying the image of a leathery and irregularly marked exterior surface.  All Scleroderma species are quite a bit firmer throughout their life span in comparison to true puffballs.  Unlike true puffballs (those in the Agaricaeae, for example), Scleroderma species are toxic and should never be eaten.  They are a gastrointestinal irritant.  During their initial stage of development, they can be pure white inside = just like true puffballs are when considered safe to consume after cooking. To avoid confusion with edible true puffballs, we should al;l probably substitute the word ‘EARTHBALL' for the word ‘Puffball.’   

In Scleroderma citrinum, the pore mass or gleba turns from white to purple to black. When mature, the outer crust-like covering (peridium) splits open near the apex and spores are released by rain drops and wind currents. 

Another way that Sclerodermas are different from edible white puffballs is that they are not saprobes. Like most other members of the Boletales order, Sclerodermas are actually mycorrhizal with both broadleaf trees and and conifers.  

The bolete that grows from this scleroderma (Pseudoboletus parasiticus) is edible and has a mild carroty taste and chewy texture, though you may not like the slimy consistency that is characteristic of many edible cooked boletes.

Scleroderma citrinum