stinkhorns - The Dainty Squid


Thursday, September 11, 2014

A little while back when I was at my parents out of the corner of my eye I spotted something growing in the mulch around a tree. I knelt down to get a better look only to find there were more than a few of these strange mushrooms growing all around the area. They were small, egg like fungi that were gooey and something I wasn't at all familiar with. I decided I'd photograph them, look them up later and dedicate a post to these strange little things because they were so neat.
A week or so after my initial sighting I identified these rather gross looking things as a stinkhorn in it's juvenile stage. To stay I was bummed out about not seeing these in their adult form is an understatement. I have a list of mushrooms I'd like to someday find, and of course, photograph, the stinkhorn is in my top five! If I would have just checked back on these babies the next day I probably would have been able to cross that off my "to-find" list.
Another week went by and I was back at my parents when it hit me, I should go check to see if any mature stinkhorns were around. I dashed over, spotted some, and ran back full speed to grab my camera bag.
They were surprisingly a lot less smelly than one would think something called a "stinkhorn" would be. That's not to say they didn't have a bit of a funk about them. Apparently they were still odorous enough to attract insects. Do you see the tiny bugs in the last photo of them? Insects are actually what help spread the spores of this mushroom.

Something I thought was that was really neat about these is that the stalk is actually hollow. In the second photo above you can see where it has a white ring around the top, you can see right down through the whole mushroom.

Fun fact : mature stinkhorns only last a day or two before dying (which is actually fairly common with mushrooms in general.) Below is a photo of one a few days after it's prime. The mulch surrounding the tree was covered with them.

I'm still so stoked I finally get to cross these off my list! It's so strange that I lived at that house my whole life up until six years ago, and I had never noticed them until this year. Was I just looking right past them, or were they not there previous years?! Either way, I'm going to be keeping a much closer eye.

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15 thoughts

  1. Oh wowza. I'm actually fascinated with mushrooms (mostly looking at them, and sometimes learning about them). I didn't know this one existed though.

    It completely blows my mind how something as "mundane" as a mushroom can have so many different designs, shapes, patterns, stages... I don't know. It's really all just crazy. I love it.

  2. Whoa! The first few photos make them look like eggs of some sort. I've seen reddish kinds of these in my backyard before. I thought they were carrots until I poked at them with my foot, haha. What strange little organisms fungi are!

  3. That's so cool you got to cross something off your top five list! The third picture down reminds me of an apple tart or something..

  4. They look like something out of a sci-fi movie, so cool!

    Kassandra | The Desert Poppy

  5. I kid you not, the moment I'm reading your post there's an item on the news here about the fact that mushrooms are surprisingly early this year. I feel like I'm surrounded by mushrooms :D.
    Anyway, they look cool! A bit gross though, but still.

  6. That is the most amazedly phallic mushroom I have ever seen.

  7. Wow! I had no idea some mushrooms have such a short life span. Good eye!

  8. What a weirdly interesting post! Hahaha!
    They look so gross, but I was so fascinated!

    Laura | elelibee

  9. I have been mushroom foraging in Ohio for a few weeks now, but hadn't seen any stinkhorns. I read your blog post today, thought it would be really cool to see some, looked out my window and saw two 8 inch stinkhorns! I've really enjoyed following your mushroom findings; good luck this fall!

  10. Because my mental age is something like 12, the pictures of the... "mature" ones made me giggle >.>


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