Q: I have found in my yard something which resembles a potato, but I think is some type of mushroom. It is embedded in the ground, round, light tan in color, and when crushed it has a black core. Do you know what this is and what I need to do to get rid of them?
A: I think it’s a potato earthball), probably Scleroderma bovista . My son pointed out a couple at the base of our deck steps this afternoon in late September.
It might also be a common puffball, Scleroderma polyrhizum.
I’ve read that some puffballs are edible – but I’m not sampling it – and I don’t recommend you do either!
The interior is a dark purple mass of tissue and spores. They will eventually dry and form a light brown mass of spores which will be spread by the wind – or by kids kicking them to see the puff of “smoke” they emit.