This mushroom first appears as an egg, partly submerged in the surrounding substrate with a jelly like feel. The mushroom then (slowly) bursts out and forms the very phallic looking fungi. The cap is covered in a sticky substance, called a gleba containing the spores, to which flies seem very attracted. As they devour this, they get covered in spores, which then get a free ride to a new place to grow.
You can often smell a stinkhorn before you see it!
|Stinkhorn (EN), Cingroen (CY), Sromotnik Smrodliwy (PL), Erdei Szömörcsög (HU)
|Average Mushroom height (CM)
|Average Cap width (CM)
At first appearing smooth and olive grey brown to black, this is what’s called the gleba, which contains the spores. As soon as flies find this mushroom they devour and get covered in it, leaving a white honeycomb like cap. In the adjacent image the gleba has been half devoured.
Has a very bulbous almost volva like base, that when in the egg stage, contains a small Stinkhorn fruitbody, surrounded by a slimy jelly.
Can look a bit like a Black Morel or False Morel but the overwhelming stench of the Stinkhorn should save confusion.
Can also look like a Puffball, Earthball, pictured, or Amanita egg when in the egg stage, but Puffballs are soft, spongy and pure white inside, Earthballs are tough and usually purple or black inside, Amanitas at the egg stage will have a small fruiting body inside, but it is not surrounded by slime and again the smell should help you avoid any confusion.
Pale yellow. Oblong. As the spores are mixed in the olive grey gleba, it is not possible to do a spore print with this mushroom.
Taste / Smell
At the egg stage, this mushroom is reported as edible. The tough cuticle in the egg does taste a bit like radish, but we don’t eat this mushroom as the smell is putrid and most unappetizing.
This mushroom has been reported to have aphrodisiac qualities, but this is purely down to it’s phallic look, rather than anything scientific.
Victorians were disgusted by the sight of this mushroom and used to go out in the morning with a club and flatten them to save young women’s embarrassment.