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Group of Fungi: Flask Fungi
Latin Name: Daldinia concentrica (Bolton) Ces. & De Not.
Common Name: Carbon Balls
Description: Globose to somewhat pear-shaped structure, 3/4–2 in (2–5 cm) in diameter, grayish white at first but becoming reddish-brown and then black, hard and brittle; surface rough, dotted with minute openings through which the spores are released; interior of the fruiting body with conspicuous concentric bands, purplish-black and carbon-like (hence the common name); spores black or very dark brown in mass.
Biological Role: Decomposer of wood.
Habitat: On decaying wood of dead branches and fallen logs of broadleaf trees; usually occurring in clusters.
Geographical Distribution: Found throughout North America.
Comments: The concentric rings on the inside of the fruiting body when the latter is broken or cut in half are distinctive.