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This mushroom first asppears 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 which flys seem very attracted to, they devour this and 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.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Stinkhorn
Scientific Name Phallus impudicus
Season Start Jun
Season End Nov
Average Mushroom height (CM) 25
Average Cap width (CM) 5
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


At first appearing smooth and olive grey brown to black but this is what’s called the gleba which contains the spores and 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.


Hollow, white and like spongey honeycomb or polystyrene.

Bulbous Base

Has a very bulbous almost volva like base that when in the egg stage contains a small Stinkhorn fruitbody surrounded by a slimy jelly.


Soft and rubbery in the cap, like polystyrene in the stem and jelly like in the ‘egg’.


Any where with rotting wood present.

Possible Confusion

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, spongey 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.

Spore Print

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.



Other Facts

This mushroom has been reported to have aphrodisiac qualities but this 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.


1 comment for Stinkhorn

  1. Colm Breathnach says:

    Saw around three or four stink-horns in a rhododendron maze at Castle Semple Country Park, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Definitely stink-horns but no smell!

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