Friday, February 12, 2010

Stinkhorn fungus -- appropriately named!

Most people find these repulsive, but I find them fascinating.  They appear out of nowhere but always announce their presence far and wide by the strong smell (usually described as disgusting but I think of as VERY organic).  They grow on decaying wood and are fairly common along the gulf coast states.  Their peak season is October through March.
The slimy brown portion is the smelly part and the part which also contains the spores.  Flies are attracted to the smell and spread the spores to wherever they travel next. 
Different species come in a variety of colors and formations but all have the distinctive smell.  The photo here is of Clathrus columnatus.

If you'd like to know more there is excellent information at Mushroom Expert  and at 


Bernie said...

Weird .... and wonderful! To think that its horrible smell is what keeps it surviving. Amazing plant story.

Kimberly said...

When I first saw this in person, I was sincerely scared of it! I found out what it was a year later in a newspaper article. Intriguing, for sure! Strange, weird and alien!!!! Great post!

NanaK said...

Interesting reading about this fungus. I have some that shows up in my mulch and doesn't create too much of a problem as it doesn't last but a few days. However, my daughter has it all throughout the mulch in her beds by her front door. It really isn't a very nice greeting for visitors. She would love to know how to get rid of it, but since neither of the articles you linked to even hint at a cure, I suppose she is out of luck. Digging it out hasn't seemed to faze it as it came back this winter. Nice photo BTW.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

That's a beautiful specimen! But I am rather partial to fungi, which is how I ended up doing the mushroom week/mushroom monday posts this winter. I actually haven't seen this species of stinkhorn before. They really are a fascinating group of fungi. Thanks for posting it!

The Rainforest Gardener said...

There was one that used to pop up at our yard that looked just like a green and white... I'll leave it to your imagination. Anyways, visitors were quite offended.


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