Mosaic Monday: Featuring Stinkhorn

A new meme for me to try, Mosaic Monday.

A friend and I took a short walk in the woods today, and there, just when I wasn’t even thinking about looking for it — though I have been looking for one for about a month now — was a stinkhorn mushroom, in fact Ravenel’s Stinkhorn, Phallus ravenelii.

We haven’t had a lot of rain lately, so fungi have been thin on the ground, literally. And weirdly, this is the first stinkhorn I’ve come across, except for an immature one, that I didn’t smell first, or at all, even up close; this one didn’t have that characteristic stink of the stinkhorn, which is usually said to resemble rotting flesh or dung but which often smells like bleach to me. When walking along a trail, I’ll smell the bleachy odor (or occasionally the rotting meat odor) and start looking around in quite a large radius because the smell is pungent.

But today, I was looking at the “doll’s eyes” of an Actaea pachypoda (white baneberry) and as I moved my own eyes back to the trail, the shape and colour of the mushroom caught them. As you can see, this specimen doesn’t yet have the smelly black or olive-coloured slime that attracts flies to its spores, which the flies distribute over a wide area, ensuring future stinkhorns.

I will go back tomorrow to check on its progress.

The mosaic includes the stinkhorn and a few others things seen on the walk today.

collagestinkhornCLT201930Sept2019.jpg

 

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(I’ve posted previously about stinkhorns here, Phallus impudicus/common stinkhorn, and here, about midway through, Clathrus columnatu/column stinkhorn and Mutinus elegans/elegant or dog stinkhorn.)

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6 comments

  1. Wow, that’s a pretty stinky smell you’re describing. I’m curious now about the stinkhorn mushroom’s role is in its environment. It’s an interesting shape, reminds me a cactus paw before it blooms.

  2. Welcome to Mosaic Monday! I am so glad that you joined us and I hope you will return soon! This is a new mushroom to me, but it reminds me of a plant that I have only seen in Grand Cayman. Stapelia gigantean is a cactus and its flowers smell like rotting flesh to attract flies for pollination! It looks like you have a lovely set of woods for walking. Enjoy the rest of your week, and happy mushroom hunting!

  3. You know, there is a market for stinky things. That seems weird to me. We have ‘death arums’ here that could be sold on E-Bay if someone wanted to bother.
    Anyway, these memes are addictive. I’ll avoid it for now.

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