Stinkhorn Mushroom

In my last post, I described an odd looking fungus that I'd come across:

"This fungus is one I don't recognize.

I have opened the casing somewhat and there is a gooey material surrounding it. I am leaving it alone. I am afraid it might attack me."
The next day I went back to see if the fungus had grown at all. It had elongated, but the top and some of the shaft had been nibbled away by some evidently hungry creatures. It was swarming with ants too, apparently feeding on something from the mushroom.

I wondered what the enticing smell would be to draw the ants - something sweet and nectary?

I picked up some of the remaining cap and smelled.

The smell of rotting meat, of a dead mouse, of animal scat. And it was all over my fingers.

In a flash, I knew what this mushroom was - it was a Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus).
"The spore mass typically smells of carrion or dung, and attracts flies and other insects to help disperse the spores. Although there is a great diversity of body structure shape amongst the various genera, all species in the Phallaceae begin their development as oval or round structures known as eggs.

Species in the Phallaceae are gasteroid—having spores that are produced internally. Fruiting bodies originate as a gelatinous, spherical or egg-shaped structure that may be completely or partially buried underground. The peridium, the outer layer of the egg, is white, or purple/red, with 2 or 3 layers. The outer layer is thin, membranous and elastic, while the inner layer is thicker, gelatinous and continuous. At maturity the peridium opens up and remains as a volva at the base of the receptaculum."
Hmm. Stinky stinkhorn.



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